Review: ‘You Can’t Take it With You’

Chronicle Staff

“You Can’t Take it With You” is a delightful romp keeping the audience smiling from start to finish.

The play by George Kaufman and Moss Hart, which continues its run through Sunday, lets the audience into the mixed up world of the Sycamore family. A thoroughly untypical and yet decidedly symbolic American family, in which the mother (played by a cheery by Sarah McMahon ’08) writes plays because a typewriter was once delivered to the wrong house, the father (Justin Kuritzkes ’08) creates fireworks in the basement, and one of the daughters (Hannah Platt ’08) dances, rather badly, around the house.

In comes the daughter Alice (Sarah Brandon ’09), who has fallen in love and intends to marry her boss’ son Tony Kirby (Harry Botwick ’09). The Kirbys are a distinctly different family and conflict ensues. In the mean time there is a Russian ballet teacher (Kevin Long ’08), a drunken actress (Natasha Neufeld ’08) and many others.

Director Ted Walch kept the energy up throughout the entire show, keeping everyone on stage moving and the audience interested.

The standout performance of the show comes from Zack Goldman ’08, who with a slight New York lilt in his voice, plays the Sycamore grandfather, Martin Vanderhof. Goldman is fully believable as a man whose wisdom goes beyond his years and despite Goldman’s own young face he seems to be the antiquarian of the family.

The smaller character roles that appear throughout the play also catch your eye, including Neufeld’s limerick giving actress, Natalie Margolin’s ’10 Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, Long’s Russian, Boris Kolenkhov, and Geoff Rock’s ’09 Mr. Kirby are all a joy to watch. The moment when Kolenkhov takes Kirby down in a wrestling move is top notch.

All the various accents are executed smoothly, with only a few expected slip ups. And while it seemed a little anachronistic for Laura Barati’s ’08 maid, Rheba, (a role written in the 1930s as African-American) to be speaking with a Hispanic accent, it was so funny and Barati executed the accent so well that she made you overlook it.

The ingénues Botwick and Brandon are lovely together and ever so sweet and the set designed by Alex Kolmanovsky (and apparently filled with items from Walch’s home) is adorable.

It is a darling show with a lighthearted message that does not fail to please.