Tuesday, November 25, 2014

theatre review - HARVEY - Desert Stages Theatre - Nov. 22

Click here to read my complete review (highlights below) at TalkinBroadway.com

Ginger Muth and Rick Davis
Photo: Wade Moran/Desert Stages Theatre
"With a lovely lead performance and a fairly good ensemble cast, Mary Chase's heartwarming 1944 Pulitzer Prize winning play Harvey is receiving a charming production at Desert Stages Theatre in Scottsdale. The show features Rick Davis giving a winning performance as simple man Elwood P. Dowd, whose best friend just happens to be a six foot tall rabbit named Harvey....Davis is giving a sweet, understated and perfectly measured performance as Elwood P. Dowd. While the character is eccentric and odd, Davis brings the appropriate amount of charm, caring, and love to him. He also perfectly captures the sheer happiness and sunny disposition of this man who wants to have a connection with everyone he meets...As Veta, Donna Kaufman has the range of emotions one would expect from a woman with a brother like Elwood, particularly in the last act when she has to make a very important decision about his future. Kaufman is appropriately high strung as Veta. Her crazy rants and wide range of emotions are in perfect opposite to Davis' performance, which is exactly what is needed and goes back to that theme of what is sanity and could the person we believe to be insane actually be the sane one? Madeline Hickman is funny, forward and sexy as Veta's daughter Myrtle Mae.... (Virginia) Olivieri not only plays a supporting role but also directs the production with appropriate shades of comedy and seriousness. She also has a clear focus on the craziness that the events of the struggle between the sane and insane can create. Brent Coatney (who also has a brief cameo as a taxi driver with a very important message) has created an effective set design that perfectly allows, with just a few moveable walls, a change from the Dowd home to the asylum. Tamara Treat's costume designs are a nice mixture of period designs....Harvey is a well-crafted comedy, and this production features a fairly effective ensemble cast with some great performances from Davis, Kaufman and Munch. It is recommended for any fan of classic comedies.

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