Star rating – 6/10
In keeping with the traditions of the festive season, at this time the Royal Exchange usually like to offer a more accessible production for those once a year theatre goers to enjoy. And this year it is the 1930’s American screwball comedy ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart. The Exchange have teamed up with ‘Told by An Idiot’ theatre company for this production, which is directed by Paul Hunter.
It is the mild morality tale of a very bohemian, liberal American family, the Vanderhofs, whose lives crash into those of the Kirby’s, who are bankers on Wall Street and hold diametrically opposite view on just about everything. Alice Vanderhof works for the Kirbys, and her budding romance the heir to the Kirby fortune, Tony, leads inevitably to tears and laughter.
It is a funny production, with great comic turns from both Miltos Yerolemou as the mad Russian ballet teacher Professor Kolenkhov, and his not so promising student Essie, played by Sophie Russell, who is also Alice’s elder sister. But I guess I want more than funny from a Christmas production. I felt that the play was a little dated, and not strong enough to uphold the festive season on its own two feet. It’s a shame – but I just wasn’t blown away, and I have come to expect more from the Exchange, so felt a little short changed despite the laughs.