We walked into UVU’s Noorda theater right as You Can’t Take It With You was starting. Up on the balcony of the set was a reproduction of an old style radio broadcasting studio. Before the show, between acts, and at the end of the show, they had a well-done whimsical look back at the radio shows of the 1930’s. Kudos to Taylor Drummer–set designer. With a couple of trios, duets, and soloists all singing numbers as well as doing period commercial ditties, it was a fun-filled look at yesteryear. I especially enjoyed the women’s trio and Wade Johnson’s solo piece. The sound was a perfect rendition of what you would have heard in your living room on an old Victrola radio—that slightly tinny sound with muted bass and treble notes.
The play itself was a fun look at family life that is suitable for all ages, with several standout performers. The relationship between Alice Sycamore (Rachel Bigler) and Tony Kirby (Alexander Woods) was believable and with just the right touch of nerves that you would expect from a young couple getting engaged and worrying about merging their families. The mother (Penny Sycamore) was perfectly played by Katrina Luthi, who showed whimsy, care and nurturing as if it really were her own family she was looking over. The maid Rheba was given life by Emma Christopherson, and her secret love and Essie’s dance teacher Kolenkhov played by Wade Johnson, as well as Donald played by Alex Rettie, not to forget Essie herself (Chantel Ficklin) and her husband Ed Carmichael (AJ Taysom), all gave life to the love story of Alice and Tony. I thought that Mr. DePinna (Javier Ybarra) upstaged Paul Sycamore (Kacey Spadafora) a bit, but overall the two played off each other well as a couple of absent-minded professor types.
But the real standout performance was that of Grandpa played by Jason Evans. He was truly believable in this role, with even what might have been a mistake or two played right into the lines in such a way that I really could not tell if they were accidental or deliberate. This was as good a performance as many that I have seen that in productions that cost substantially more.
With a set that was period perfect, lighting by Lawson Bendall that illuminated, but did not upstage the performers, sound by Keving Crimen that was clear and yet typical of the period, and costumes that were very well done overall, this is a play that you really should not miss. Hats off to the costume designer, Estee Parker, who made costumes with whimsy and glamour that matched perfectly this romantic period. The bling was not spared on the Grand Duchess for her dress matched perfectly her dynamic personality. When Tora Truax came onto the stage she was a show stopper as she lit up the entire room with her vivacious personality and thick accent.
Bravo to everyone involved. I enjoyed myself so much that I’m thinking of coming back later in the run to see it again.
You Can’t Take it with You
Utah Valley University Noorda Theater
800 West University Parkway, Orem, UT 84058 (801) 863-INFO (4636)
April 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 7:30 PM Sat April 25 2:30 PM matinee