THEATRE REVIEW: Harvey ★★★
The Birmingham REP Theatre
16th February 2015
Originally Inspired by the writer Mary Coyle as a wish to inspire those affected by the tragedy of World War II, Harey first ran on Broadway in 1944, and was soon made into a film in 1950. Now, it stars in the UK on tour, featuring James Dreyfus and Maureen Lipman as Cousins Elwood and Veta. Straight from the first scene, We are soon introduced to Veta and Myrtle, a mother and daughter, and we are instantly drawn to these characters, and the comedy comes also straight away at the beginning with the arrival of Elwood, answering the phones, and messing up the dinner party he has just arrived to.
The energy and enthusiasm from Elwood, portrayed by James Dreyfus, was a real highlight and the way himself and the other characters interacted with ‘Harvey’ was clever and creative. I especially loved the painting used at the end of act one, as it gave us a hint of what Harvey is actually pictured like in Elwood’s mind, and as the characters in the play soon start to believe that Harvey is real, we are treated to glimpses of Harvey through the art of moving and knocks on the doors. Maureen Lipman was also perfect in the role of Veta, being a perfect match for James in both their comic timings. They both made their characters so believable to us as an audience, you really do feel like you have been transported to another era and world unlike your own.
The way the revolving stage was used was perfect for the minimal prop movement and scene changes, which made everything extremely slick, making the production run smoothly, and the story itself was easy to follow, and really had me drawn to the action and really feeling for all the characters in the production, being involved in all their relationships on stage.
Overall, Harvey was a very entertaining night out to the theatre, which had a very creative way in producing an invisible rabbit, which I think we should all wish for sometime in our lives to come, to cheer up ourselves and those around us.