‘How I Met Your Mother,’ ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Friends.’ Families gather around the TV every night to watch sitcoms that showcase unusual characters in delightfully awkward situations. Highlands High School’s production of ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ brought the quintessential concept of the situation comedy from the television to the stage.
‘You Can’t Take It With You’ portrays the clashes of the oddball Sycamore Household and the white collar Kirby family while addressing the concept of all-American family and ideals. Alice Sycamore invites her fiancé Tony Kirby and his family over to her chaotic house for dinner. But when the Kirby family shows up a day early, cultures and morals collide, the government gets involved, and hilarity ensues.
The two love birds, Alice and Tony, played by Kay Vermeil and Ben Justice respectively, acted as the straight characters in a show full of over the top caricatures. A standard complaint about high school performers is that they lack chemistry on stage. This was certainly not the case for Vermeil and Justice, as the performers’ connections onstage made the relationship between the characters completely believable. Another standout in the cast was Nick Mohr as Grandpa. Playing a character significantly much out of your age range can be incredibly difficult and Mohr delivered Grandpa's wise and prophetic lines seamlessly.
As an ensemble show, it was important for the cast of ‘You Can't Take It With You’ to work together well. Highlands’ cast had warm, comfortable relationships onstage that drove the plot. While at the beginning of the show the performers seemed slightly over the top, they each fell into their respective character archetypes as the story progressed.
Not only were there notable performers in this production, but it was a technical marvel as well. The entire show took place inside of the Sycamore household, furnished to look like a living room and kitchen that anyone would volunteer to live in. Though at times the busy designs on the wall distracted from the action, the detailed stenciling of the wallpaper was ornate and professional. With so many obscure props required, Katie Schwegman and Jenna Walsh had quite the task at hand. Their hard work did not go unnoticed, and their attention to detail beautifully set the tone of the show through these props.
Highlands High School’s production of ‘You Can’t Take It With You’ preached about the importance of pursuing what one loves and being around the people one loves in order to be happy - morals that you could take with you.