(Role: Lyman Sanderson)
Last night's audience at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, thoroughly enjoyed Richard Martin's production of Harvey, Mary Chase's play about a gentle fugitive from this world who finds the company of a 6 feet tall white rabbit in Charlie's Bar and Eddie's Place preferable to the drab round of social duty life would have imposed on him.
Would I had enjoyed it as much as they. I found it too slow to catch the pointed cackle of the dialogue, while the sophistication of Sally Hulke's admirable cartoon sketch settings and of Mr. Martin's busy production seemed oddly at variance with the essentially good natured tolerance of the play. A busy production can be as slow as one which drags.
In Henry Manning, the Belgrade has a natural Elwood P. Dowd, charming of manner and soft of voice, even if he has difficulty (and who would not?) in establishing Harvey's presence at the start. Patricia Routledge as his sister, Rosemary Leach as her daughter, Peter Palmer as Dr. Chumley, the psychiatrist, and Alan Howard as his assistant, head the company which helps the comedy along.
But the performance of the evening , as always with this play, comes from Harvey himself - and who shall dare to call him imaginary.
The Birmingham Post, 1.12.59.
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