I love Harvey, and I enjoyed this adaptation of it. Harvey (the 1950s film), if you’ve never seen it, is the kind of film that’s on every Christmas. James Stewart plays Elwood P. Dowd, a man who has an invisible 6′ 3 1/2” rabbit for his best friend, and his family can’t cope. It’s a nice film about how, actually, what’s in people’s hearts is more important than what’s in their heads, and how people work out how to be good to each other.
There are a bunch of poor reviews floating around for this show. I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that the production felt a little stilted in the first half – in the very first scene in particular I felt that Ingrid Oliver and Lipman were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of exposition that they had to do (“My uncle-your brother-invisible friend…” breath in “…high society-alcoholism-family history…”) but if you forgive that – and if you’re sitting watching Harvey probably you are in the mood to forgive something – then the second act trips along very nicely, with Dreyfus really finding his groove as the slightly damaged Dowd, to the point where I did want to just hug him for a bit. Lipman, too, has a particularly nice moment at the end where she casts off the her assigned role in life to tell Judge Gaffney to stop calling her “old girl”. Strong supporting cast, and they’ll improve as the run continues.
Harvey himself was excellent, of course.
I saw this show with family, and we got half-price tickets from the booth in Leicester Square – they were only around £13 each. For a really lovely evening, definitely worth it. Good set, too – loved the rotating chequered floors. Made me realise when watching it that I always imagined the taxi-driver from Arsenic and Old Lace is the same taxi driver as from Harvey.