Fireworks explode in the living room, wannabe ballerinas pirouette through the kitchen, and breakfast is served for dinner. Welcome to the crazy home of the lovably oddball Sycamore family, featured in South County Secondary School's production of "You Can't Take It With You."
"You Can't Take It With You" is a 1938 play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman that plays out like a pre-WWII sitcom. Sycamore daughter Alice (Elizabeth Ensminger) falls in love with her boss' son, Tony Kirby (Justin Alderson). Alice's worst fears come true when Toby's parents come to her house for dinner on the wrong night, and catch her zany family up to their usual outlandish antics. However, the uptight Kirbys discover that they can learn a thing or two from the unconventional but happy Sycamores.
As Penelope Sycamore, Molly Dickerson combined maternal warmth with her confident delivery of comedic lines. Dickerson's exuberant charm made her a central driving force of the play's hilarity. Complementing this abundant energy was Ray Yankey's easy-going Grandpa Vanderhof. Whether explaining to an IRS representative why he doesn't believe in taxes or reading the paper while fireworks blast off in the living room, Yankey's character did everything with an enviable appearance of calm.
Mariah Kalil was sweetly ditzy and clumsy as Essie Sycamore, the coordinately-challenged dancer of the family. The inebriated actress Gay Wellington, who collapses on the Sycamore's couch, was played by Johnee Wilson to drunken perfection.
As a whole, the cast was adept at portraying the all-out chaos of the home life of the Sycamores. In Act II especially, the wackiness of the play's eclectic characters seemed to practically erupt on stage.
The set effectively reminded us of a well-worn home, and the sound (by Drew Jenkinson) was reliable as all cues were delivered efficiently and all voices were heard. Impressive effects included a fireworks explosion in the middle of the stage, complete with bright flashing lights, smoke and flickering lamps.
Some of the cast members did have problems maintaining consistent accents throughout the evening and occasional confusion occurred when lines were rushed instead of holding for laughs, partly because of the great deal of audience laughter during the evening.
The hard work of the cast and crew was evident in South County's play, which is the first theatrical performance for the school. "You Can't Take It With You" provided an enjoyable evening with characters that are lovable, not in spite of their eccentricities, but because of them.