The premise of a play about a man with a six-foot-imaginary-rabbit-friend was intriguing to me. The fact that the play starred Maureen Lipman and James Dreyfus was also appealing as I respect both actors work. So I trotted off to the gala night at the Theatre Royal Haymarket with high hopes for the show.
Harvey tells the story of Ellwood P Dowd (James Dreyfus) who is committed to a mental institution by his sister Veta Louise (Maureen Lipman) after he embarrasses her one too many times in front of her high society friends, with his imaginary friend Harvey, a six foot rabbit. As with any good comedy farce, things don’t quite go as planned and Veta ends up being committed herself and Ellwood is left to run free with Harvey. The show is fun and Fawlty Towers-esque with everyone running around, trying to track down Ellwood and his furry friend. But who is really the crazy person in the family?
The star of this show is undoubtedly Maureen Lipman as Veta Louise. She does a great job with the role of Veta and manages to look regal and slightly crazy at the same time. James Dreyfus is adorable as soppy Ellwood. He plays the role half depressed and half content in his small world of craziness. Ingrid Oliver is good as Myrtle Mae Simmons, the daughter of Veta who just wants to live a normal life and not have to worry about giant rabbits bouncing around the house.
Harvey is a good, fun show that does the job required. Written in 1944 by Mary Chase, it feels a little underwhelming for todays audiences. It won’t make a massive impact on your life after you’ve seen it but it’s not every day you get to see a show with a six foot white rabbit as the star. Whether you see it or not is up to you.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Harvey is playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 2 May 2015. Click here to book tickets.