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Stryoka Theatre Harvey

By • Nov 10th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Harvey by Mary Chase
Stryoka Theatre
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
Through November 21st
2:45 with one intermission
$15/$13 Gaitehsburg residents
Reviewed November 6th, 2010

Harvey is a play by Mary Chase. Elwood P. Dowd, a lovable alcoholic, lives with his sister and niece in the house once owned by Elwood’s deceased mother. Elwood’s world is quite calm despite one unusual problem that makes family outings uncomfortable. Wherever Elwood goes, Harvey goes. You may ask who is Harvey? Why silly he’s a six foot tall rabbit! Veta Louise and Myrtle Mae are at their wit’s end over what to do about the situation. And Harvey.

Having been spoiled by opening night hilarity and much audience laughter, the Saturday evening crowd was less enthusiastic and the cast had a really hard time with pacing. Waiting for the laugh that may or may not come really slowed things down. There was some improvement in the second act as the emotions of the cast got more intense. It seems that when people get more excited they tend to talk faster.

Elwood P. Dowd played by Stephen Yednock was an easy-going, quite likable character. Yednock had a familiar style and seemed comfortable on stage. Yednock was very effective in dismissing the zaniness happening around him, and made Elwood very sympathetic. I think all of us wishes we had a friend as nice as Yednock’s Elwood. Much more uptight and anxious was Dowd’s sister Veta Louise Simmons, played by Erica Drezek. Even though the overall pacing of the show was slow, her pacing around the room in a state of near panic was fun to watch.

The medical team at Chumley’s Rest was a fun group. Nurse Ruth Kelly played by Jen Retterer was a sweet gal with a crush on Dr. Sanderson played by Denys Petrov. Reterer and Petrov never quite seemed to warm up to each other. She was obviously smitten with him, but Petrov was not sure how to handle it so he kept her at a distance. There also seemed to be a few moments in their scenes together that they were speaking in double entendres, but the risque meaning disappeared. Dr. Chumley, the senior Doctor at Chumley’s Rest, was played by Roman Gusso. Gusso was full of emotion and his bluster was amusing, not only to the audience, but to the staff as well. He actually had the best pacing of the cast.

Set Designer and Master Carpenter John Buckley put together a concise stage. The cast did an excellent job of moving the set between the library and Chumley’s rest. Everyone knew what was expected and carried it out with enthusiasm. This made for very smooth transitions. Be aware that Harvey is written as a three act play, but this production dropped the first intermission making the first act over an hour and a half long.

And Harvey did make a brief appearance at the end of the one of the scenes. But the scene’s blackout occurred two seconds too early, so instead of the audience being amazed at a door opening and shutting by itself, it looked like the door wasn’t shut securely by the last actor through it. That same effect was successfully done later in the show.

All in all, Stroyka’s Harvey was a fun little show, an opportunity to see a glimpse of a simpler, less cynical time.

Cast

  • Myrtle Mae Simmons: Kimberlea Pirrone
  • Veta Louise Simmons: Erica Drekek
  • Elwood P. Dowd: Stephen Yednock
  • Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet: Becky Granatstein
  • Nurse Ruth Kelly: Jen Retterer
  • Wilson: Nicholas Weil
  • Lyman Sanderson, M.D.: Denys Petrov
  • Lyman Sanderson, M.D (u/s): Walter Gotlieb
  • William R. Chumley, M.D.: Roman Gusso
  • Judge Gaffney: Marc Rehr
  • E.J. Lofgren, a cab driver: Harry Greco

Crew

  • Producer: Jennifer L. Gusso
  • Director: Barry Hoffman
  • Set Designer/Master Carpenter: John Buckley
  • Art Work: Benjamin Simmons
  • Sound Designer: Alan Chaikin
  • Lighting Operator: Arielle Granatstein Gotlieb
  • Sound Operator: Harry Greco
  • Videographer: Benjamin Simmons
  • Photographer: Karen Simmons

Disclaimer: Stryoka Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. The show’s producer writes for ShowBizRadio, and last summr Mike was asked to stage manage this production after he stage managed their summer musical.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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