The Antaeus Theatre is well known for putting on the great classics which they always double cast, giving audiences multiple ways to enjoy their productions. Currently they bring in a lighter side of great theater with their production of you CAN’T take it WITH you. Written by the well know comic playwrights Kaufman and Hart (The Man Who Came To Dinner), this hilarious romp crosses the downright odd Sycamore family and the industrious Wall Street tycoons the Kirbys in a love struck tangled web.
Sitting down in the small theater you are immediately transported into the wacky household that belongs to the ballet dancing, snake collecting, play writing, portrait painting, firework making, press printing, song writing family that is the Sycamores. With a skull candy jar, an elephant head, a toy boat just to name a few, the house is perfectly decorated for the play and it sets the mood immediately. Tom Buderwitz has done a wonderful job at capturing the spirit of the play and the house, which becomes just as much a character as any of the actors.
The direction of this play has to be firm and yet flexible enough to allow the playfulness of the actors to shine through, and Gigi Bermingham did just that and more. The staging is of the utmost importance. With Essie (Linda Park) constantly dancing around in people’s faces and leaping across the set at any given moment, the comedy of the piece requires that everyone be in perfect synch with her and the others. Every moment counts in this piece and it is all set perfectly to impromptu music played by Essie’s wacky husband Ed (Michael Hyland). The quick changes and re-setting of scenes after intermission is part of the perfect comedic timing Antaeus has been able to bring to this piece. Without it, the play would be a complete disaster and not funny at all.
As with all Antaeus productions this play is double cast. I had the privilege of seeing the Kirby cast. Each actor held their own with the fast paced hilarious script and the cast was delightful during this opening run. They were led by no one in particular since this play is very much an ensemble piece. No one person stands out and that is the way it is supposed to be. In a play where the importance of family is key the cast should be presented as a strong inseparable family. you CAN’T take it WITH you is an absolutely absurd and extremely well presented play. It will have you laughing your head off and will give you a smile that you can in fact take with you.
*Please check the Antaeus website for a schedule, casts alternate every performance.