You Can’t Take it With You is a 1930’s era screwball comedy enthusiastically embraced by Sedos (The Stock Exchange Dramatic and Operatic Society), an amateur company three decades older than the play itself. The play centres on the Sycamore family as daughter Alice tries to decide whether her eccentric family could ever get along with her beau’s straight-laced conservative parents.
A fun and friendly play that focuses on family.
There's a lot to love in this performance. It was obvious that the actors had spent time constructing their characters and determining how they would interact with each other – vital to any family grounded performance. Dara Seitzman in particular stood out in her role as Penny Sycamore; Seitzman’s perfectly comic expressions married excellently with her character's speech. Izzi Richardson as Alice Sycamore did well to express both her embarrassment toward, and love for, her peculiar family. This balance was crucial to the believability of the plot. Lisa Depuis’ Rheba had an infectious laugh and her character’s moments of annoyance were brilliantly conveyed. Robert Pennant Jones’ turn as Grandpa was a wonderful watch, his voice had a beautiful gravity to it which made his speeches particularly poignant.
The sheer delight felt by the cast throughout their performances really reverberated through the room, cultivating a joyful atmosphere all across the auditorium; the audience could really feel it which was rather special. Each performer’s clear dedication to their role and to their character’s smallest physicality was impressive. The ballet moves incorporated into Sarah Berryman’s movements as Essie Carmichael were hilarious and well-maintained; from actually dancing to simply putting an item onto the table, her concentrated actions really highlighted Essie’s eccentricities.
Given the nature of screwball comedies there was a lot going on, with various threads coming together to create some rather comic tableaus – especially in the lead up to the interval. Overall the choreography in the busier scenes was well managed, although there were times when actors in the background of scenes could have stripped back their performances more to have allowed the audience to focus better on the action of the play. The set was a little prop heavy and could have been simplier as well, but the costumes were absolutely beautiful.
Sedos is a registered charity and between 2005 and 2016 they are proud to have given over £60,000 to various other causes, so they are well worth your support. This is a fun and friendly play that focuses on family and on taking the time to enjoy doing the things you like best in life, even if you aren’t very good at them.