It is a rare and delightful treat when a student theatre company presents a challenging and intelligent piece of theatre as courageously as Underground Productions’ second main stage show You Can’t Take It With You.
George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning play which was later made a film classic in 1938 receiving two Academy Awards including Best Picture, is an uproarious tale of an eccentric New York City family, their hobbies and their hilarious encounter with their daughter’s fiancée and parents who stop by for dinner.
From the moment you step into the theatre you are transported back to the 1930’s as a jazzy trumpet tune swells the auditorium and you enter the Sycamore residence, a large middle class house with walls cluttered with quirky artwork, a room abundant of odd objects and the occasional basement explosion. One by one you are introduced to the zany cohort of characters, each more outrageous than the last. When the significantly contrasting Kirbys come to visit the Sycamore household their organised mayhem is disrupted and young couple Alice and Tony’s union is caught right in the middle.
Anthony De Marco provides a steady directorial hand as the cast approach the difficult text fearlessly and present well developed and highly entertaining characters. Together the ensemble mesh well together to deliver a comedic and at times heartfelt performance. Notable mentions include, Alexandra Hines as loving mother and wife Penny Sycamore, who has the audience giggling from when they first meet her fumbling over her typewriter, and show stealer Ellie Gale as the flamboyantly drunk actress Gay Wellington. Peter Staff as philosophical and gentle Grandpa Martin Vanderhof also wins the audience over with his witty lines as he shuffles around the stage in his slippers.
Special note also goes to the costuming department who sourced an array of 1930’s style garments leaving the fashionable satisfied as they lust over Alice’s stylish and sophisticated wardrobe not to mention Grand Duchess Olga Katrina’s glamourous outfit.
An easily relatable play for anyone who has ever thought their family is different or in some cases crazy, You Can’t Take It With You explores family values and acceptance and leaves the audience wondering if perhaps being different is normal and in our own right we all are just a little bit crazy.
It is obvious everyone on stage is having fun and as a result their energy allows the audience to forgive the imperfections and embrace an enjoyable night at the theatre.
So if you’re up for a couple of hours of laughs and would like to support some of Brisbane’s emerging artists, book yourself a ticket to see one of You Can’t Take It With You‘s final performances this week at the Schonell Theatre, UQ.
For more information visit www.undergroundproductions.org.au