Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Herndon High School You Can’t Take it With You

By • Nov 12th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

“Rebecca Marshall (Penny), Carly Erickson (Gay Wellington), Matthew Sipe (Paul), and Joey Patchan (Ed)

Trotskyite slogans, the FBI, income tax fraud, a Soviet exile, and the Czarist royal family’s remaining expatriates. A thriller? A mystery? A tragedy? Well, actually You Can’t Take It With You is something more like the Beverly Hillbillies meets Citizen Kane in an outlandish love story and off-the-wall comedy performed by Herndon High School.

You Can’t Take it With You was written in 1936 by George S. Kaufmann and Moss Hart. The original production ran for 837 performances on Broadway. It was made into a movie in 1938.

You Can’t Take it With You is the story of the extremely bizarre and eccentric Sycamore household. Alice Sycamore wishes to marry Tony Kirby, the Vice President of Kirby and Co., a successful corporation run by his father on Wall Street. Tension erupts as the Sycamores try to win over the hearts of the blandly normal and much wealthier Kirbys and attempt to convince them to let their son marry Alice.

Becca Marshall‘s portrayal of Penny Sycamore was hilarious. The energy and confidence that Marshall gave the role made the outrageous playwright (author of such works as The War Play, The Religion Play, and Sex Takes a Holiday) and bizarre mother come to life. Whether she was off in the corner writing her plays, or in the thick of everything, her dynamic performance was undyingly funny.

Tyler Andere‘s Mr. Kirby was also delightful, but a polar opposite of Penny. His sheer political correctness and normalcy, while just as well executed as the other actors, gave a balancing element to the rampant chaos of the rest of the show.

Jake Ellis‘ performance as Boris Kolenkhov was side-splitting. The intense and thick-accented Soviet émigré who fancies himself a voice of reason (“Perhaps they are stomach ulcers”) was always the center of attention whenever he was on stage. Sam McCracken‘s Mr. De Pinna, the firework-making hick, was both entertaining and adorable.

Sound had few errors considering the sporadic stream of firework noises that had to be played. Lighting was effective, and really stood out when the colorful pinwheels of red and light blue were projected onto the stage. A scene was added where most of the characters are hauled off to jail for a night (which was referenced, but not shown in the original script). The Jail Scene highlighted the slapstick nature of the show with it’s dubious stage combat between Kolenkhov and Mr. Kirby, and Mrs. Kirby and the Burlesque dancers.

With a heartwarming and hilarious ending, Herndon’s exquisite performance of You Can’t Take it With You leaves the stage until its two final performances on the 16th and 17th of November.

by Alex Badley of Homeschool

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