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Theatre Information

Vagabond Players Harvey

By • Jan 16th, 2014 • Category: Maryland, Reviews
Harvey
Vagabond Players: (Info) (Web)
WHERE
Through February 9th
2:30, with intermission
$10-$18
Reviewed January 10th, 2013

Some things are timelessly funny. Mary Chase’s tale of a man and his 6 foot, 8 1/2 inch tall rabbit named Harvey is as funny and relevant today as it was in the 1940s. The current production at The Vagabond Players is no exception. While a few of the performers occasionally go a little over the top rather than trusting the inherent humor of the script, many others stay subtle and let the script speak for itself. Despite any unevenness, the script wins out, and the end result is a light-hearted and enjoyable evening that flies by in a flurry of laughter.

The evening begins in the old Dowd family mansion, as we meet Veta Louise Simmons (Joan Crooks) and her daughter Myrtle Mae (Karina Ferry). Possibly due to opening night jitters or slight overplaying of the scene, the opening seems a little frantic and takes a little while to find its pace. Once Crooks finds her rhythm and pace, she is delightfully overwhelmed, manipulative, and yet sympathetic throughout the rest of the production. Ferry, on the other hand, teeters on the line between over-the-top and landing just right.

The show starts to really come alive as Elwood P. Dowd (Roy Hammond) enters, along with Harvey, the Pooka that only he can see. Hammond creates a charming and engaging Dowd, who walks the finely crafted line between sane and insane.

As the scene shifts to Chumley’s Rest, we meet another major star of the show: the beautifully designed set. The audience actually applauded as the beautiful library opened up to reveal the second set. Both locations were filled with little details that made the scenery come alive and feel realistic.

At Chumley’s Rest, we first meet Ruth Kelly (Amy McQuin). McQuin delivers one of the best performances in the production with flawless timing and intricate facial expressions and reactions. It is easy to root for Kelly and to see her charm, even when it is not always clear what she sees in the seemingly self-absorbed Dr. Lyman Sanderson (Chris Cotterman). Cotterman’s performance is mostly solid and, even when slightly inauthentic, works with the character.

Also, working at Chumley’s Rest is Duane Wilson (Colin Holmes) and Dr. William R. Chumley (Phil Gallagher), who provide two distinctly contrasting performances. Holmes fails to find a believable character, and, while his “class clown” behavior draws laughter, it feels like scene-stealing. His ham-like behavior feels like it as at the expense of the rest of the cast and the story rather than part of the production. Gallagher does the exact opposite, by grounding himself in making the character believable, the humor that comes forth from his character’s over-the-top mania is genuine and creates many of the best moments in the show.

The combined performances of Crooks, Hammond, McQuin, Gallagher, and, at times, Cotterman make this show well worth watching. While more consistency and grounding on the part of some of the other performers may have taken the production to another level, this is still a quality production. With a great script, a truly impressive set, and a few stellar performances, an enjoyable evening is a certain result.

Elwood P. Dowd (Roy Hammond). Photo by Ken Stanek

Cast

  • Myrtle Mae Simmons: Karina Ferry*/Stephanie Ranno
  • Veta Louise Simmons: Joan Crooks
  • Elwood P. Dowd: Roy Hammond
  • Miss Johnson: Regina D’Alessandro
  • Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet: Amy Bell
  • Ruth Kelly, R. N.: Amy McQuin
  • Duane Wilson: Colin Holmes
  • Lyman Sanderson, M.D.: Chris Cotterman
  • William R. Chumley, M.D.: Phil Gallagher
  • Betty Chumley: Amy Bell
  • Judge Omar Gaffney: Marc Rehr
  • E. J. Lofgren: Mark Wible

Production Team

  • Director: Sherrionne Brown
  • Stage Manager/Booth Tech: Stephy Miller
  • Backstage Crew: Regina D’Alessandro, Becky Miller, Dennis Crooks, Ed Makowski
  • Lighting Design: Charles W. Danforth, III
  • Sound Design: Sherrionne Brown
  • Set Design: Sherrionne Brown, Roy Hammond
  • Set Dressing/Painting: Sherrionne Brown
  • Set Construction: Moe Conn, Jay Demarco
  • Portrait: Maureen Feeey
  • Props: Central Avenue Props, Sherrionne Brown
  • Photography: Ken Stanek
  • Production Photos: Fred Mainolfi
  • Poster: Sherrionne Brown
  • Program: Barb Gehring
  • Box Office: Apryl Bancroft, Pat David
  • For the Vags: Tim Evans, Marylee Barnes

Disclaimer: Vagabond Players

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