Monday, 16 January 2012

You Can't Take It With You - Royal Exchange, Manchester 7/1/12

The Royal Exchange in Manchester can usually be relied upon to stage some seasonal cheer of the non-panto variety that will help to shake off any winter blues, and this year was no exception.

You Can't Take it with You is a revival of a 1930's American farce, centring on the eccentric Vanderhof household. Alice, the sanest of the bunch and the only one who appears to do real work for a living (as opposed to other family activities which include studying ballet - for a very long time!, playwriting, keeping snakes, making fireworks, painting, printing and sweet making ) falls in love with the bosses son Toby Kirby, and a party is arranged for the two families to meet. All the Vanderhoffs have promised to be on their best behaviour. Unfortunately the Kirby's arrive a day early in the middle of complete mayhem (or a normal day in the Vanderhoff household depending on your point of view).

All the cast were great, some taking on more than one role, one taking on five! I think my favourite characters were Sophie Russell's Essie, who practises her ballet moves at every opportunity, and Golda Roseuvel's Miss Wellington, a flamboyant actress with a passion for gin!

This was a gloriously mad production, even the scene changes were exuberantly choreographed, and it romped along at a cracking pace. It was also extremely funny, and ultimately very heartwarming. Just what was needed on a cold and damp post-Christmas Saturday!

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