Watermill Young Company - You Can’t Take It With You
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Watermill Young Company - You Can’t Take It With You

13th to 16th November 2013.

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Timing key to youth theatre success

Watermill Young Company: You Can’t Take It With You, at The Watermill, Bagnor from Wednesday, November 13 to Saturday, November 16

George S Kaufman and Moss Hart's 1937 Pulitzer prize-winning play You Can't Take It With You was enthusiastically performed by the talented members of the Watermill Young Company, astutely directed by Seamus Allen, who managed to tease out every comic element from his zestful cast in what was a highly entertaining evening of fun.

The staging had been transferred from New York to 1930s London, solving any issues with American accents, and designer Toots Butcher created an ingenious set filled with an assortment of bric-a-brac including a tank of snakes.

The eccentric fun-loving Sycamore family are a bohemian lot, determined to live each day in the pursuit of happiness.

Grandfather Martin, confidently played by Alex Lonsdale, retired from work 35 years ago and has paid no income tax ever since. When the Inland Revenue finally catches up with him Mr Henderson (Samuel Steele-Childe) asks "Don't you think we should pay for the Prime Minister and the House of Commons?" - to which the sharp witted answer is "Yes, but not with my money".

Genevieve McCallum is the dotty mother Penelope who has given up painting to become a playwright when a typewriter was accidently delivered five years ago.

Down in the basement Paul (William Barrett) makes fireworks with some truly explosive results. He is helped by Mr De Pinna (Mario Jones) who arrived several years ago for dinner and just stayed. All great fun.

Daughter Essie (Amy Folland) wants to be a ballerina and her xylophone-playing husband Ed (Steffan Padel) simply dotes on her.

By contrast, her fashion-conscious sister Alice (Talitha Wing) appears to he the only sane member of the family.

When she falls in love with Tom (Tom Fisher), the son of the prim and proper orchid-growing vice president of Kirby and Co (Chris Baker), trouble abounds, especially when the Kirbys are invited to meet the Sycamores.

Unfortunately they arrive for dinner a day early, causing consternation since there is no food in the house and Mrs Kirby (Elizabeth Dunmore) is overcome with the goings on.

Into this mad, chaotic household, we meet Mrs Wellington (Catriona Suttie) who has arrived to read one of Mrs Sycamore's plays and quickly becomes inebriated, with hilarious results.

Elliot Laker boldly portrayed the ballet master Boris and Miranda Porter was majestic as the Duchess Olga but she was really only a waitress. There was good support from Emilie Butter as one of the men.

Any comedy of this quality demands perfect timing and this energetic cast had it in abundance and they seemed to be enjoying every minute of the production, as did the appreciative audience.

ROBIN STRAPP