Chelmsford Theatre Workshop at the Old Court
Harvey first “appeared” on Broadway a lifetime ago, but this pooka pal has remained popular ever since, due in part to the Jimmy Stewart movie.
Now he's haunting the Old Court stage, in a gently amusing production by Jade Flack.
Elwood P Dowd, “the biggest screwball in town” and the rabbit's constant companion, is given a warmly absorbing performance by Dave Hawkes, perfectly capturing the sunny innocence of this harmless eccentric. Strong in support are Lynne Foster as his desperate sister, with some great moments of physical comedy, and Alec Clements as Sanderson, the callow, charismatic junior doctor at the sanatorium run by Dr Chumley [Jesse Powis in a memorable bow tie].
Not all the performances are quite as assured as Hawkes', but there are nice cameos from Stephanie Yorke-Edwards as Mrs Chumley, Fabienne Hanley as Aunt Ethel, and Ian Russell as the all-important cab driver.
Not many laughs on a thin Friday night, despite the sterling efforts of some experienced performers, but some excellent work in key scenes; Sanderson getting advice from Dowd, or left alone on stage with Ruth [Jade Flack].
And the scene changes from The Dowd Library to Chumley's Rest are very efficiently managed.