You Can’t Take It With You – Unionville High School in Kennett Square, PA.
November 16, 2015
Review submitted by Marisol Smith of Lindenwold High School
The Bunkers, the Conners, and the Addams aren’t the only unconventional families to grace audiences with their peculiar lifestyles. Unionville High School did a great job this weekend reminding us all of the Sycamores, who also tend to demonstrate dysfunctional methods in problem solving, in their production of You Can’t Take it With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
Similar to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, minus the forbidden love, violence, and deadly ending, this drama tells of two families, one slightly eccentric while the other wealthy and conservative, joining in marriage. However, before Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby can wed, they must first have their families meet. Meanwhile, the grandfather, Martin Vanderhof, refuses to pay income tax and is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service. Can the couple accept each other’s families and make the commitment? You’ll have to see the show to find out!
When the cast and crew of the production weren’t dazzling the crowd with striking student-produced sets and impressive lighting, they were charming them with their fluent accents and upbeat personalities. Although there were moments that lost the audience’s attention, it was quickly regained with outrageous wrestling reenactments and explosive rocket sound effects.
Annie Ward as Henderson, Clarisse Cofrancesco as Penelope Sycamore, and Joe Siehl as Boris Kolenkhov were prominent comedic characters who kept the stage alive and the patrons on the edge of their seats. Simran Jain playing Gay Wellington, Ashley Lennick playing Essie, and Mark Jankowski playing Donald also added to the show with their individuality and key influences. Some would argue the costumes and makeup could have been enhanced, but it was made up for by the efficient scene changes and the detailed set.
There is much to be said about Alex Kallis’ performance as Martin Vanderhof, the all-knowing grandfather of Alice and Essie. The actor truly grasped the character and delivered the final scene beautifully. Trevor Seidel, Tony Kirby, and Suchi Jain, Alice Sycamore, added to the show with their believable love connection.
Overall, Unionville High School constructed a wonderful production of You Can’t Take it With You. Together, the cast and crew put on an amusing performance portraying the families. The hard work put into sound, lighting, and sets, that were all run and supported by students, was evident. The show was a delightful experience and I look forward to hearing about Unionville High School’s spring production.
Review submitted by Maureen Tibbetts from Archmere Academy
A lot of people have crazy, embarrassing families, but no family is wackier than the family in You Can’t Take It With You. The students of Unionville High School brought each one of the show’s eccentric, quirky characters to life onstage.
Originally appearing on Broadway in 1936, this show certainly is not the most contemporary, but it contains themes of family and love that are relevant in today’s world. You Can’t Take It With You was written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman and has had several Broadway revivals through the decades. The story takes place in New York in the 1930s and follows the lives of several quirky family members.
Unionville High School’s production of the unique show was highly entertaining. Each member of the roughly 20-person cast was clearly dedicated to his or her character and passionate about the show’s story. With a beautiful student-designed set, lovely costumes, and complex characters, the show was visually pleasing as well as mentally stimulating.
Several lead actors put on impressive performances. Alex Kallis had the difficult task of playing the family’s grandpa, Martin Vanderhof, and did so flawlessly through his voice, his walk, and his overall portrayal of the significant character. Clarisse Cofrancesco, who played Mrs. Penelope Sycamore, utilized an authentic 1930s accent and made her humorous character completely authentic.
Each member of the cast was energetic and maintained his or her energy throughout the show. Lovebirds Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby, played by Suchi Jain and Trevor Seidel, had believable chemistry and put on great performances. Ashley Lennick charmed the audience with her wonderfully awful dance moves as the childlike character Essie. Joe Siehl, who played Russian dance teacher Boris Kolenkov, used a consistent Russian accent and elicited many laughs from the audience.
The show’s detailed and grand set included a chandelier and elegant red walls strewn with paintings. Designed and built by students, the set was incredible and was the perfect setting for the show. Stage crew did a great job making subtle changes during blackouts, and lighting and sound cues were both well executed.
Overall, You Can’t Take It With You was a fun, quirky show with many comedic moments. No matter how big or small a character’s part was, each cast member gave his or her all to the show, and that certainly showed through in Unionville High School’s production.