Theater Review
By Rebecca Corrado

The cast of Harvey at the Little Theatre of Alexandria (Courtesy Photo)

Replete with vivid personalities, a dark family secret, an inheritance plot, eerie magical realism, and an omnipresent yet unseen title character, “Harvey” ingeniously takes ingredients for gothic horror and creates a robust charismatic comedy. The snappy dialogue, well-earned tantrums, and near-slapstick physicality provide entertainment for all ages, and the Little Theatre of Alexandria puts on a delightful rendition of this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic.

With an ovation-worthy set designed by Matt Liptak and painstakingly appointed by Jocelyn Steiner, LTA’s “Harvey” treats audiences to Andy Izquierdo’s luminous and pitch-perfect Elwood P. Dowd as he blithely confounds the machinations of scheming relations and cynical psychiatric staff. Rachael Hubbard’s turn as Elwood’s perpetually vexed sister, Veta Louise, is both hilarious and affecting as she stumbles towards redemption through misery of her own maintaining. She’s partnered with her deliciously dislikable daughter, Myrtle Mae, played with panache by Catherine Gilbert. Aided by family attorney, Judge Gaffney, presented by the ever-excellent Tony Gilbert, their attempt to commit Elwood sets off a mad comedy of errors at the psychiatric hospital.

Despite occasional gear-grinding in the interplay between characters, and despite how badly the humor of a bothersome woman being physically assaulted has aged, the cast all turn in memorable, lively, and well-rounded individual performances. Richard Isaacs delivers solidly satirical square-jawed buffoonery as Dr. Lyman Sanderson, and Chuck Leonard’s Dr. William Chumley is a joy to watch as he slowly loses his grip on his hospital and his sense of reality, aided by Brendan Quinn’s tenacious orderly Duane Wilson. Lindsey Doane brings a generous and crucial authenticity to her Nurse Kelly, anchoring the audience appeal of Elwood’s quirky graciousness. Of special note are Patricia Spencer Smith’s Mrs. Chumley, Mary Jo Morgan’s Mrs. Chauvenet, and David Featherston’s E.J. Lofgren. Each has one scene, which each utterly steals, making LTA’s “Harvey” a substantial and layered entertainment skillfully delivered.

“Harvey” is playing at The Little Theatre of Alexandria through May 12 on Wednesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Click here or  call the box office at 703-683-0496 for ticket information.