Thursday, January 05, 2012

‘You Can’t Take It With You’ by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart

5 January 2012

Last Friday we were at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester to see ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart. This production by the Royal Exchange Theatre and Told By An Idiot of the 1936 Broadway comedy, was extremely silly, incredibly funny and joyously life-affirming: I loved it! Kaufman wrote for the Marx Brothers (including the screenplays for ‘A Night at the Opera’ and ‘A Day at the Races’) and ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ displays a similar zany humour. Set in New York in the 1930s, Alice Sycamore (played here by Sarah Ridgeway) brings her new boyfriend home to meet her eccentric family. Here the two lovers are the only ‘normal’ characters with everyone else slightly larger than life – the mother (played by Joanne Howarth) who has spent eight years trying to write a play, purely because eight years ago someone mistakenly delivered her a typewriter, the father (Sam Parks) who spends his days in the attics inventing fireworks, the sister (Sophie Russell) who wants to be a dancer and dances almost continuously around the house, the house guest (Martin Hyder) who arrived six years ago to deliver ice and never left and the grandfather (Christopher Benjamin) who decided that spending six hours a day doing something he didn’t enjoy in order to spend one hour doing the things he liked made no sense and so he stopped going to work or paying income tax. It was a wonderfully silly show, directed by Paul Hunter and making good use of the theatre-in-the-round setting. Everyone left with a smile on their faces.

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