Tuesday November 21st 2017

“Harvey” reviewed by Carol Moore

Highly Recommended **** Kudos to Court Theatre for bringing back one of my favorite classic comedies, “Harvey”.  Mary Chase’s play about a 6-ft. rabbit premiered on Broadway in 1944, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945, and was made into a movie starring Jimmy Stewart in 1950.  It was a joy to watch this talented cast, directed by Devon de Mayo, bring “Harvey” to life.  It was an evening of pure entertainment wrapped up in nostalgia!  4 Spotlights

Courtney O’Neill’s design for the Dowd home was simply stunning.  An elegant library, complete with books and collectibles on the shelves, a distinguished portrait hanging over the mantel, and glimpses into other rooms at the sides.  During a blackout that couldn’t have lasted more than a minute or two, that stunning library was converted into the reception room of a sanitarium with office doors lining one wall.

In an ingenuous use of furnishings, nothing really changed, it was just moved into a different configuration.  A change of rugs; a pair of chairs placed side by side forming a settee; a side table became a desk; and a gold-and-white telephone is replaced by a business-like plain black phone by flipping a table top.

After her husband passed away, Veta Louise Simmons (Karen Janes Wodistch) and her daughter, Myrtle Mae (Sarah Price) have come to live with her brother, Elwood P. Dowd (Timothy Edward Kane) and his constant companion, Harvey, a 6-ft. white rabbit.  It was so much fun to watch Kane acknowledge Harvey’s presence with a nod or a gesture.

Veta just can’t doesn’t understand why their parents left the family mansion to her brother, she’s so much more deserving.  Veta wants to launch Myrtle Mae in local society – so she can find a proper husband – so she’s started her campaign by inviting all of the town’s pre-eminent ladies to afternoon tea.

The piece de resistance – Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet (Amy J. Carle, who also plays Betty Chumley and E.J. Lofgren) has agreed to attend the tea.  Mrs. Chauvenet is more interested in Elwood than she is in spending time with Veta.  When Elwood happens to come home while the tea is underway, she’s all over him, at least until he introduces her to Harvey, when she stalks out in high dudgeon.

While Myrtle Mae (a selfish spoiled brat) rants about Harvey, Veta decides to do something about Elwood.  With the help of Judge Mara Gaffney (Jacqueline Williams), a brilliant choice to play the family lawyer, she’s going to have him committed.  She can just see it – with Elwood out of the way, she’ll have everything.

When Veta and Elwood arrive at the clinic, they’re greeted by Ruth Kelly, RN (Jennifer Latimore), who has orderly Duane Wilson (Andy Nagraj) escort Elwood off to a room for his first immersion therapy.  When Veta has a consultation with Dr. Lyman Sanderson (Eric Hellman), he mistakenly decides she’s the patient.  When Dr. William R. Chumley (A.C. Smith), finds out about the mix-up, he’s infuriated.  The most delicious chaos ensues!

“Harvey” runs through June 11th at the Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago.

Running time is a little over 2 hours with an intermission.

Performances are:

Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm

Friday at 8:00 pm

Saturday at 3:00 and 8:00 pm

Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30 pm.

There is an additional matinee on Wednesday, June 7th at 2:30 pm. 

Parking is free in the garage next door to the Court – you have to take a ticket to enter but you won’t need it to exit, the gate stays up for 30 minutes after the performance.

Tickets range from $48-$68.  FYI (773) 753-4472 or www.CourtTheatre.org.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-up and click at “Harvey”

 

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