Harvey: Time for invisible rabbit to hop off stage

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Categories: Community Theatre

Harvey201303

It is not an easy task to convince an audience of the existence of a six-foot invisible white rabbit. And it never happens in the current Kanata Theatre production of Harvey by Mary Chase.

In fact, the biggest surprise, in view of this presentation, is that Harvey won a Pulitzer Prize. Even in 1944, there were surely more effective and worthy shows than this comedic chestnut.

And today, it is really out of kilter with 21st-century attitudes. The storyline focuses on the alcoholic visions of Elwood P. Dowd, who goes everywhere with his pooka (large beast) while his hysterical sister, Veta, is worried that he and his invisible rabbit will stop her eligible daughter, Myrtle Mae, from finding a man.

As directed by Peter Williams, Doug MacDonald is effective in conveying Elwood’s gentleness but does not bring that darned invisible bunny to life.

Meanwhile, Katie Buller as Veta tries to convey hysteria by screeching or screeching more loudly and societal ambition by false laughter and Lionel King, as Judge Gaffney, attempts to convey authority by shouting.

In addition, the manhunt that both Myrtle (Meghan Duncan) and a sanitarium nurse (Jennifer Brooks) are conducting is demonstrated by similar eyelash flickers, body movements and skirt holding that is about as convincing as the non-existent rabbit.

The two strongest performances are delivered by Tracey Nash as the doctor’s wife and Derek Barr as the taxi driver.

But, on this showing, it is time for the invisible rabbit to retire for good.

Harvey continues at Kanata Theatre to April 6.

 

Harvey

By Mary Chase

Kanata Theatre

Director: Peter Williams

Set: Jim Clarke

Sound: Alan Quirt and Alan Bauld

Lighting: Ron Francis

Costumes: Kathryn Clarke

Cast:

Myrtle Mae…………………………………………………Meghan Duncan

Veta…………………………………………………………Katie Buller

Elwood P. Dowd……………………………………………Doug MacDonald

Miss Johnson………………………………………………..Robin Thomas

Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet……………………………………….Susan Monaghan

Ruth Kelly R.N.……………………………………………..Jennifer Brooks

Duane Wilson……………………………………………….Aaron Lajeunesse

Lyman Sanderson M.D……………………………………..Geoff Williams

William R. Chumley M.D…………………………………..Jim Clarke

Betty Chumley………………………………………………Tracey Nash

Judge Omar Gaffney…………………………………………Lionel King

E.J. Lofgren……………………………………………………Derek Barr’s 


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