Delightfully Busy: Award-winning Play ‘You Can’t Take it With You’ Kicks of Barnstormers’ Season
For the Pulitzer Prize winner for drama in 1937, You Can’t Take it With You is surprisingly suited for our day and age. And Barnstormers Theatre in Grants Pass delivers an award-worthy performance of it. It will play at Barnstormers through September 20.
The entire play takes place in the New York home of Martin Vanderhof, who is most often referred to as “Grandpa.” What makes the single setting so easy is that his entire family lives there with him—his daughter Penny, her husband Paul, their two daughters Essie and Alice and Essie’s husband Ed. Not to mention Paul’s assistant, Mr. De Pinna, who came to the house eight years prior to deliver ice, and ended up staying. In addition to being packed full, this household is outrageously eccentric. Everyone sticks to the simple rule of pursuing whatever makes them happy. Hobbies range from fireworks production to play-writing, and when folks from the “outside world” are exposed to the group, most just don’t understand—at first.
The 1938 film version directed by Frank Capra—which also won Academy Awards that year for Best Picture and Best Director—has a whopping 94% approval on the tomatometer at RottenTomatoes.com, so it is clear that either on the screen or the stage, You Can’t Take it With You is a winning story. Though the story takes place over 75 years ago in a different political and financial climate, Grandpa’s concern of the government misusing his income tax and the wise monetary advice shared in the title make the story a classic.
Barnstormers rose to the occasion with a delightfully busy set and an experienced, talented cast, who were true to character and also delightfully busy. Fitting all of the eccentric hobbies onto one stage must have presented a challenge, what with the need for a printing press and snakes in their habitat, but it all fit nicely and the flow ended up being a pleasant, true-to-life chaos.
You Can’t Take it With You
2 and 7:30 pm, Thurs.—Sun.
Barnstormers Theatre, 112 NE Evelyn Ave, Grants Pass