As on the previous three nights, Rosegreen Community Hall was again full to capacity on Sunday night for what was to have been the final performance of this years production of Rosegreen Player’s production of ‘You can’t take it with you’ - however due to the unprecedented demand for tickets it was announced after the final curtain to stage two extra performances this coming Friday and Saturday, February 3 and 4, at 8pm.
Director Hugh O’Neill and the Rosegreen Players have put together an accomplished, warm and humorous production of Kaufman & Hart’s ‘You can’t take it with you,’ staged in the compact little roadside theatre.
This warm-hearted study of a family of distracted, amateur, would-be artists and entrepreneurs bears the title ‘You can’t’ . . but the message is clearly ‘You can’ if you have the mind for it or as in this case, even if the mind is suspect. You can be an artist, a writer, a dancer, a fireworks maker, a master printer - even if you don’t really have much talent for it, just as long as you are not aware of that fact.
One major pleasure gained from involvement of in amateur dramatics is the pleasure of bringing words on a page alive without much thought for commercial success or even for an audience, other than for family and friends. That theme fits in a lot with Rosegreen theatre scene, though the level of talent residing there, scale loftier heights than that in the Vanderhof family.
The Rosegreen Players themselves are proof of the theme as well, for although many of the cast are seasoned thespians, for some, this was a first time treading the boards and all done a fine job of bringing the dysfunctional Vanderhof clan to life. With Hugh O’Neill’s assured directing and shrewd casting, they spin the fleece into gold.
Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman fill the comfortable 1930s Vanderhof household with a large cast of residents and visitors - 18, according to the program. The comedy has lots of movement and incident, very much like a pocket circus. On stage movement and choreography was well directed, an accomplishment that came together in the moment when the pompous and straightlaced Kirbys ( Jim Purcell and Catherine Moloney) show up on the wrong night for a dinner invitation.
Tom Delahunty, as the patriarch Martin Vanderhof, surely must have played himself. If not, his deadpan comic performance was an off-the-charts triumph. A big hit with the audience were Marisa Costello as Penny Sycamore, author of half a dozen unfinished playscripts prompted by the mistaken delivery of a typewriter six years earlier, Rheba (Majella Lonergan) and Donald (Finbar O’Neill) the coloured kitchen maid and her partner whom as consequence of the show might be the butt of village humour for a while, Brinora Brett as Alice the sparkling, innocent young woman and Penny’s daughter, whose romance with her young boss Tony Kirby, (Ciarán Mulally) pits the straitlaced against the cheerfully unlaced; and Glen Fahy, as the Russian dancing master Kohlenkhov, who’s efforts to turn Essie, (Irene O’Connor), into a ballerina seemed doomed to fail.
Eye catching bit parts include Gay Wellington (Naomi Cambell) the drunken visiting actress, Oliver Corbett as Paul Seymore and Eamon Freir as Mr. De Pinna the milkman, partners in the basement fireworks laboratory; Fachnán O’Seachnasaigh as the Grand Duke Igor Vladimir Rosegreenovich, a dispossessed White Russian who drops by to cook up some blinis and Ed, (John Murray), who apart from causing major embarrassment for the family with his printing press proved to be a dab hand on the xylophone.
The plot is well put together, as conflicts are set up and resolved, home made good sense prevails. Grandpa’s ‘been there done that’ advice is paid heed to and Alice’s clear the air trip to the mountains is called off. In the midst of the Depression, the Vanderhofs live happily on the income from Grandpa’s property holdings. The final scene is a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moment for senior banker Kirby, who is saved from Wall Street.
The Rosegreen Players gave us an amusing evening, played out up close in a perceptively decorated living room set that seemed to stretch back forever.