Book Review: You Can’t Take It With You by Kaufman and Hart

You Can't Take It With You 001

If you’re not in the mood for laughing out loud,
don’t bother reading this old play tonight . . .

Produced on Broadway December 14, 1936–and just
as fresh today.  Authors are George S. Kaufman and
Moss Hart.

The action takes place in New York, in the home of Martin
Vanderhof–three generations, and a one-of-a-kind family
they are!   The young daughter, Alice, has a new beau, Tony,
met at work, the boss’s son, and she’s worried that his Wall
Street background and her family won’t mix very well.  He
meets them one night when he picks her up for a date and she
shoos him out before anything disastrous happens.

Then she invites his parents over for dinner and hopes
for the best.  But they arrive on the wrong night, and  . . .
well, let’s tune in– just after Mrs. Kirby has been frightened
by the snakes in the aquarium.

“KIRBY. I feel very uncomfortable about this.  Tony, how could
you have done such a thing?
TONY. I’m sorry, Dad.  I thought it was tonight.
KIRBY. It was very careless of you. Very!
GRANDPA. Now, now, Mr. Kirby–we’re delighted.
PENNY. Oh, now, anybody can get mixed up, Mr.Kirby.
GRANDPA. Penny, how about some dinner for these folks?
They’ve come for dinner, you know.
MRS. KIRBY. Oh, please don’t bother.  We’re really not
hungry at all.
PENNY. But it’s not a bother.  Ed! (Her voice drops down to a
loud whisper) Ed, tell Donald to run down to the A. and P. and
get half a dozen bottles of beer, and –ah–some canned salmon–
(her voice comes up again)–do you like canned salmon, Mr. Kirby?
KIRBY: Please don’t trouble, Mrs. Sycamore.   I have a little
indigestion anyway.
PENNY. Oh, I’m sorry . . .How about you, Mrs. Kirby?  Do you
like canned salmon?
MRS. KIRBY (you just know that she hates it). Oh, I’m very
fond of it.
PENNY. You can have frankfurters if you’d rather.
MRS. KIRBY (regally).  Either one will do.

Things generally go downhill– just as you thought they
would, and you are in for a pleasant little evening’s reading
indeed.

 

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