by Steve Desroches
Chances are you know someone on stage at the Provincetown Theater’s production of You Can’t Take It With You. Chances are in this Kaufman and Hart classic ensemble comedy of 17 actors you know a lot of people in the cast. As the Bradford Street theater begins its 2018 season under the new leadership of artistic director David Drake and a renewed board, the goal is to focus on community with the first show. And You Can’t Take It With You provides a fun romp through a brilliantly written comedy with a team of community actors willing to chew the scenery in what may be one of the original madcap ensemble comedies.
The play, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1937, features Alice and Tony, two young lovers who are newly engaged. Tony, portrayed with 1930s perfection by Beau Jackett, and Alice, a conflicted worrier played by Laura Cappello, are set to introduce his uptight parents to her eccentric family and the equally batty friends who fill their Manhattan home. Her father is making fireworks in the basement with Mr. De Pinna, an ice delivery man who visited seven years ago and never left, her sister Essie is constantly pirouetting around the house as she makes little progress under the tutelage of her displaced Russian dance teacher Mr. Kolenkhov. Her mother keeps type, type, typing away at racy plays that never seem to go anywhere but her living room. And Grandpa, the man who left the world of what is expected to follow his heart. This all comes as rather shocking to the Kirbys as they groom their son to follow his father into the conservative, restrictive world of Wall Street.
In this three-act play (which has two intermissions) the cast shoots around the gorgeous set, designed by Ellen Rousseau, like the firecrackers father is making in the cellar, with scene-stealing performances by Dian Hamilton as Gay, an inebriated actress, Fermin Rojas as Kolenkohov and Julia Salinger as Olga, two Russians displaced by the revolution, James H. Swindler and Christopher Brooke as overzealous government goons, and Dawn Walsh and John Dennis Anderson as the rigid Kirbys. The remaining cast members – Jane Macdonald, Lisa-Marie Nowakowski, Sallie Tighe, Paul E. Halley, Tim Famulare, Michael Burke, Tim Richmond, and Glenn Starner-Tate all straddle the comedic/straight divide in this play that is every bit about poking fun at the absurdities of both communism and capitalism as it is the clash of class cultures in Depression-era America. This spring production is sure to send you into summer with a smile on your face.
You Can’t Take It With You runs at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St., Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through Saturday June 2, where a special 2 p.m. matinee will be performed in addition to that evening’s performance. Tickets are $25 and are available at the theater’s box office as well as their downtown box office at 230 Commercial St. and online at provincetowntheater.org. For more information call 508.487.7487.