Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 10, 2014


Majestic Theater, West Springfield, MA
through December 14, 2014
by Jennifer Curran

"Harvey," written in 1944 by Mary Chase, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 beating out Tennessee Williams’ "The Glass Menagerie." Williams’ play is performed routinely by high schools, community, regional and professional theaters across the country, while "Harvey" is significantly less popular. "Harvey" can be a terrific play, but one that is extraordinarily difficult to get right. Most recently, it was successfully revived on Broadway and starred Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."

Our hero of the play, Elwood, has a best friend that nobody but he can see: a six-foot tall rabbit named Harvey. Elwood, (David Mason) is affable, likable, and absolutely committed to sincerity. Upon meeting someone he likes, he immediately becomes their friend. Mason’s Elwood is childlike and completely endearing. Unfortunately for Mason, an ensemble comedy depends on all of the actors’ ability to jab and punch and dance to a specific timing that is unique to each production.

Director Randy Foerster comes close, but sadly, this production falls flat. With actors clumped together in awkward poses or quite literally shoulder to shoulder, the audience members sitting anywhere other than the center section almost never see the face of one of the characters. With a stage design as gorgeous as Greg Trochlil’s is, there is little excuse to see the director’s hand or not see an actor almost at all.

The Majestic’s production of this American classic tries hard, but ultimately forgets that "Harvey" is supposed to be funny.