Harvey

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By Mary Chase.

Directed by Devon De Mayo.

At Court Theatre, Chicago.

“My mother used to say to me…”in this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.’ For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.” _ Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey.

He’s back! That 6’ ½” white Pooka named Harvey.

Court Theatre and director  Devon De Mayo have mounted a sweet, hilarious and heartwarming production of Mary Chase’s 1944 Pulitzer Prize winning comedy, Harvey. Featuring a playfully surreal fable of the mystical powers from the old Celtic mythology, Harvey presents Elwood P. Dowd (the droll Timothy Edward Kane) whose obsession with the large rabbit fuels the comic fable. Is Harvey real? Well, that depends on who you ask since the Pooka appears and disappears randomly at his whim.

Veta Simmons (the funnyKaren Janes Woditsch  ) is Elwood’s live-in sister who has finally had enough of her brother’s eccentricities since he hurts her daughter Myrtle’s (the wacky Sarah Price) social climbing search for a man. Veta attempts to have Elwood committed to a mental hospital until he stops ‘seeing’ Harvey. Elwood embarrasses the family by introducing everyone he encounters to the imaginary rabbit Harvey.

The attempt commitment of Elwood launches a series of hilarious events including Verta getting committed by mistake as we meet Dr. Sanderson (Erik Hellman), nurse Kelly (Jennifer Latimore) and Dr. Chumley (A.C. Smith) and the tough orderly Wilson (Andy Nagraj)—all of whom try to undo their mistakes as they try to resist the charm and innate goodness of Elwood and his mystical Harvey.

This funny show is pure whimsical fantasy played out with innate sweetness with a pleasant lighthearted touch. Elwood is a lovable guy who was smart and now wants to be pleasant. His simple credo is infectious. It is so refreshing to see strong dramatic actors like Timothy Edward Kane, Karen Janes Woditsch, Jacqueline Williams, and A.C. Smith perform comedy. Their timing rendered many laughs.

The comedy has some clever and sincere moments with nice turns from Timothy Edward Kane as Elwood and hilarious turns from Karen Janes Woditschand A.C. Smith.

Harvey is disarmingly humane with loads of heart. On stage, it works almost as good as the 1950 film with Jimmy Stewart. Harvey is unpretentious and cute. You’ll have a “hopping” good time (sorry)…tell them Harvey sent you.

Highly Recommended.

Tom Williams.

Jeff Recommended.

For more info check out the Harvey page attheatreinchicago.com.

At Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis, Chicago, IL, call 773-753-4472,www.courttheatre.org, tickets $48 – $68, Wed. 2:30 & 7:30 pm, Thurs. at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Sat. 3 & 8 pm, Sundays at2:30 & 7:30, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through June 11, 2017.

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