Theatre Mirror Review>"Harvey"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Harvey"

Community Player's summer show is "Harvey".Elwood P. Dowd is an affable man with a startling quirk, his best friend is a six foot tall invisible rabbit named Harvey. His insistence on Harvey's existence irritates his social-climbing sister Veta, who decides to commit him to a mental institution in order to preserve the family name. The comedy of errors that follows the accidental commitment of Veta instead provides many laughs and introduces the audience to an eclectic band of characters that make the play a timeless classic. "Harvey" opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 1944 and ran for four and a half years at the 48th Street Theatre, running for 1775 performances. This made it one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. Director Joan Dillenback captures the magical quality needed for this show with her talented cast. She weaves a spell that entrances the audience all night long with laughter and merriment, winning them a thunderous ovation as their reward.

Joan blocks the show very well especially the group scene at the end. She keeps the show set in the 1940's and the beautiful reversible set by Dan Clement and costumes by Pam Jackson reflect it. Rick Braun plays Elwood excellently. He endears himself to the audience, capturing their hearts and gives a winning portrayal of the character. Rick is very funny as the laid back tippler with his invisible white rabbit and obtains much laughter with his crazy antics. Liz Messier plays his haughty sister, Veta. She plays the ultimate society matron who is very offended by her seemingly crazy brother. That is until she realizes that Harvey is her friend, too. Liz makes her comic lines count especially funny is the scene when she returns home with her hair done up like the bride of Frankenstein on one side and with one stocking rolled down and one shoe missing.

The rest of the cast includes Caitlin Robert as Myrtle Mae, Veta's bratty daughter who wants to get rid of her uncle so she can garner a beau. Joe Wilicki plays the cunning Dr. Chumley who wants Harvey for himself while Becky Minard plays his wife, Betty and Michael Martins plays the blustery Judge Gaffney. The biggest scene stealer in this show is Michael Pugliese as Duane Wilson, Chumley's attendant who captures patients and throws them into hydrotubs  Michael has some of the funniest lines in the show, garnering many laughs along the way. Henry Barcohana as Dr. Sanderson and Amy Feucht Nurse Kelly are the young love interest, handling a love/hate relationship with each other. Sue Staniunas is a hoot as Aunt Ethel who is horrified at Elwood's strange behavior and C. Richard Koster Jr. as E.J. Lofgren who opens Veta's eyes about making Elwood into a normal person again because normal people can be such bastards. I have many fond memories of this show, having directed it in 1987, having played Dr. Chumley in it in 1995 and having played Duane Wilson in 2003. So for a trip back to the 1940's and a visit with an invisible rabbit, be sure to catch "Harvey" at Community Players.

"Harvey" (11 - 20 July)
THE COMMUNITY PLAYERS
@ Jenks Auditorium, Division Street, PAWTUCKET RI
1(401)726-6860


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |