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Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title You Can't Take It With You
Organization Roseville High School (Roseville High Theatre Company)
Date(s) of show November 12-20, 2015
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review The theater program was languishing at Roseville High School until the arrival of drama and English teacher, Ashley White. I could see from this production of You Canít Take It With You that the program is definitely on the rebound.

You Canít Take It With You is a classic of the American theatre. Set in the 1930s, itís the rich boy/poor girl story in which the girlís quirky extended family is tested against the boyís rich, boring parents and comes off as superior in its humanity.

It seems that for the majority of the players in this production, even upperclassmen, this was their first acting experience. Yet there was a lot of talent on the stage. In particular, Madison Dodson as Penny Sycamore and Laney Rhodes as Alice Sycamore stood out to me for the way they developed their characters. Marcus Wells was Grandpa, the character with the most (and some of the funniest) lines. Grandpa is the heart of the show, and Wells stood up well as the heart of this production.

There is some wonderful humor in this script, but I fear a lot of it didnít get across because it couldnít be heard clearly. The Patti Baker Theater has good acoustics for musical productions, but on this night the actors performed without body mics, and in the absence of theatrical voice projection, a lot of the clever writing was missed ó at least by me.

There was compensation for the subtle humor that was missed in the physical humor. Emily Botnen played Essie Carmichael, the would-be ballerina. Throughout Act One she flits around the stage practicing her ballerina moves as she interacts with other characters, effectively upstaging everyone ó and delightfully so. Botnen was so bad in her dancing that she was good, simply hilarious as she came up with one creative, clumsy move after another. Roseville High School has the strongest dance program of our area schools, and I canít help but wonder if she got coaching from the dance faculty. Itís hard to be that clumsy.

Braden Salisbury as Russian dance instructor Boris Kolenkhov was another source of physical humor. According to the playbill, this was his first acting experience, and one could see from his impish expression that he was enjoying every minute of it, accentuating every line with gestures of both arms to accompany his gruff Russian accent. And I was impressed (and shocked) when he threw John Wallasch (as Mr. Kirby) over his shoulder. That came off so well they both could have futures as stunt men.

Overall this had to be a fun introduction to this classic play for all the students in the production, and Iíd guess, for most of the audience. It has me looking forward to the Roseville High Theatre Companyís production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee coming next spring.

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