Ottawa Citizen

A clas­sic quirky fam­ily farce

Stu­dents cap­ture the 1930s in solid, en­er­getic pro­duc­tion

- HA­LEY AS­BIL CRITIC, WOODROFFE HIGH SCHOOHERE

Bring­ing home a first girl­friend or boyfriend can be a try­ing and po­ten­tially em­bar­rass­ing or­deal for any­one, but much more so for poor Alice Sy­camore.

In spite of all her ef­forts to whip her fam­ily into shape, they still can’t seem to find their pants, put away their erotic plays or con­tain the ex­plo­sions coming from the base­ment.

St. Joseph Catholic High School’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the play You Can’t Take It With You ex­plored the joys and the sor­rows tied to be­ing the only nor­mal mem­ber of the strangest fam­ily on the block.

You Can’t Take It With You is a com­edy writ­ten by Moss Hart and Ge­orge S. Kauf­man and it pre­miered in New York City in 1936. The play was turned into a well-known movie a few years later. It fol­lows the dif­fi­cul­ties in Alice Sy­camore’s re­la­tion­ship with the wealthy Tony Kirby Jr., caused prin­ci­pally by her out­landish fam­ily. Some of the fam­ily mem­bers are blood rel­a­tives with odd hob­bies, and some are out­spo­ken helpers, while oth­ers still are vis­i­tors who showed up, once upon a time, and never left.

The cast’s solid act­ing skills, the con­vinc­ing set and the im­pres­sive tech­ni­cal as­pects all helped carry the show. Though there were a few mi­cro­phone mal­func­tions, the ac­tors al­ways man­aged to make them­selves heard, and the en­ergy of the en­tire cast sus­tained the pro­duc­tion.

Tara Pater­son played the gig­gling wife-to-be Alice con­vinc­ingly, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween feel­ings of love and ex­as­per­a­tion for her house full of od­dballs. She and Cody McLaugh­lin, who played Tony Kirby Jr., gave a skilled por­trayal of a lov­ing cou­ple with the odds stacked against them. Their de­vo­tion to one an­other was ob­vi­ous in many scenes, par­tic­u­larly when Tony pro­posed.

The heart of the per­for­mance was the patch­work col­lec­tion of peo­ple who lived un­der the Sy­camore roof. Cameron Ford brought life to his por­trayal of the ever-cheer­ful Grandpa Van­der­hof, who dis­pensed his nuggets of wis­dom with be­liev­able good na­ture. Terri Pim­blett man­aged to be lov­ably ditzy as Alice’s sis­ter Essie Carmichael. The brash maid Rheba and her hope­lessly de­voted boyfriend Don­ald, played by Alemat Gidey and Paolo Mar­i­ano re­spec­tively, never failed to pro­voke laugh­ter and contribute­d greatly to the gen­eral ec­cen­tric­ity of the fam­ily.

The pro­duc­tion’s set, the Sy­camore’s liv­ing room, with its vin­tage type­writer, wall-hang­ings and pe­riod fur­ni­ture, looked like some­thing right out of the 1930s. It also added con­sid­er­ably to the quirk- iness of the fam­ily. An­other el­e­ment that helped the show main­tain a con­vinc­ing 1930s feel was the cos­tumes, which were all per­fectly suited not only to the era, but the characters them­selves. The light­ing crew han­dled their numer­ous cues with ad­mirable pre­ci­sion. Their im­pres­sive ef­fects, such as fire­works ex­plo­sions, were al­ways per­fectly in-sync with the ac­tion on­stage.

St. Joseph’s pro­duc­tion of You Can’t Take It With You was a mem­o­rable one, with the cast and crew work­ing to­gether to con­vey the play’s cen­tral mes­sage: be thank­ful for friends, fam­ily and good health, be­cause that’s all that mat­ters. It was fit­ting, then, that the pro­duc­tion fin­ished with the sweet scene of the fam­ily gath­ered around the din­ner ta­ble, to give thanks for just that.

 ?? KAYLIN EN­RIGHT PHOTO ?? The cast, in­clud­ing Cody McLaugh­lin, left, and Tara Pat­ter­son as a lov­ing cou­ple fac­ing ob­sta­cles, and Alex El­ton, right, as Boris Kolekhov, was solid in St. Joseph Catholic High School’s pro­duc­tion of You Can’t Take it With You.
KAYLIN EN­RIGHT PHOTO The cast, in­clud­ing Cody McLaugh­lin, left, and Tara Pat­ter­son as a lov­ing cou­ple fac­ing ob­sta­cles, and Alex El­ton, right, as Boris Kolekhov, was solid in St. Joseph Catholic High School’s pro­duc­tion of You Can’t Take it With You.
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada