Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Review: Harvey at the Theatre Royal Haymarket starring James Dreyfus & Maureen Lipman

Theatre Royal Haymarket
Reviewed on Monday 23rd March 2015

There's no denying that when Mary Chase's play premiered on Broadway in 1944 it was way ahead of its time. However, in 2015 Harvey - which was adapted into a 1950 film starring James Stewart - is feeling a little tired. 

The piece centres around Elwood P. Dowd (James Dreyfus) who introduces his (imaginary) six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall rabbit friend to everyone he meets. Tired of finding herself in awkward social situations, Elwood's sister (Maureen Lipman) seeks treatment for her brother... but things don't quite go to plan.

As it becomes more and more farcical, the first act of Harvey is joyfully silly. James Dreyfus and Maureen Lipman bring eccentricity to their performances, with Lipman particularly standing out for her stellar comic timing.

The supporting cast also have fun in their roles, providing some hilarious moments and superb one-liners. The first act does dip occasionally, but it is the second half which becomes extremely tiresome as Lindsay Posner’s production loses its steam. Cracks begin to show and Chase's play feels dated.

Harvey is fun, the various twists and turns amuse but the piece is in need of some major love and attention. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Harvey runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until Saturday 2nd May 2015.
Please visit www.harveyonstage.co.uk for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

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