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'18-carrot gold' – no time to rabbit on for Florians Theatre as Inverness drama group serve up adaptation of famous play and Oscar-winning James Stewart-starring film Harvey

By Kyle Walker

REVIEW: Harvey

The Florians Theatre, Inverness


AUDIENCE members might not have been quite able to lay their eyes on Harvey – the invisible six foot one-and-a-half inch rabbit whose existence or non-existence lies at the heart of the Florians’ latest production.

But when it comes to Harvey the play, everybody could easily see that the Inverness drama group have crafted another winner here.

Directed nimbly by Trevor Nicol, their adaptation of the 1944 script – best remembered for its 1950 film adaptation starring James Stewart and Josephine Hull – skipped happily through its humane story of one man, his pooka friend, and the people caught in their orbit.

That man, Elwood P Dowd, is brought to life vividly by Nicholas Nicol, who manages to convey all of the eccentric man’s charms and graces and strange offness with the people he meets – conveying that Elwood seems to live his life at a 90-degree angle from the rest of society.

His performance is equalled by the other (non-invisible rabbit) lead, Jenni Lomax, whose performance as Elwood’s sister Veta Louise Simmons was the stand out.

She brought the six-and-a-bit foot rabbit’s share of the comedy to the evening – her travails and reactions causing laughter to echo around the theatre – while always showcasing the essential difficulties at the heart of this woman’s decision to try and get her brother committed to a sanatorium.

As for Harvey himself, the theatre’s trickery for bringing an invisible rabbit to life worked like gangbusters – the opening and closing of doors and the cast’s reactions to what was not really there helped bring Harvey to life not just as a concept but as a character too.

With the proceedings framed by excellent set design from Jon King, the Florians’ adaptation offered up a night that was, frankly, 18-carrot gold.

Florians' production of Harvey runs until Saturday night. For more info or to book tickets, go to www.florians.org.uk

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