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Rousuck's Review: CSC's "Hamlet" and Everyman Theatre's "Harvey"

Vince Eisenson plays the title role in "Hamlet," on stage at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (photo credit: Kiirstn Pagan)
Vince Eisenson plays the title role in "Hamlet," on stage at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (photo credit: Kiirstn Pagan)

It's time for another visit with Midday theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins us each week with her reviews of the Maryland-DC regional stage.

Today, she talks with Tom about two classic shows currently in town: Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet and Everyman Theatre’s production of Harvey.

Hamlet is widely considered to be William Shakespeare's greatest tragedic play, while Harveyis a 1944 comedy about a man whose best friend is a giant, invisible rabbit. Do these two plays have anything in common?

In this new production of Hamlet, Baltimore native and nationally recognized Shakespeare director, Eleanor Holdridge, reveals this iconic piece of Shakespearian literature as a contemporary world full of tension.

“We’re creating a world of magic and wonder in which Hamlet can grapple with the questions of our existence,” Holdridge said of the production in a press release. “Even when he tries to make sense of and avenge his father’s untimely death, he discovers the ineffable strength of his own humanity.”

Harvey tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd (played by Resident Company Member, Bruce Randolph Nelson), a lovable eccentric who claims his best friend is a six-foot-tall invisible rabbit named Harvey.

Bruce Randolph Nelson stars as Elwood P. Down in Everyman Theatre's production of "Harvey" (photo credit: Kiirstn Pagan)
Bruce Randolph Nelson stars as Elwood P. Down in Everyman Theatre's production of "Harvey" (photo credit: Kiirstn Pagan)

When Elwood’s sister, Veta, tries to have him committed in hopes of protecting the family’s social standing, chaos ensues. The original Pulitzer Prize-winning play was written by Mary Chase. It's directed at Everyman by Jackson Gay.

Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s production of Hamlet and Everyman Theatre’s production of Harvey both continue through May 21.

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J. Wynn Rousuck has been reviewing theater for WYPR's Midday (and previously, Maryland Morning) since 2007. Prior to that, she was the theater critic of The Baltimore Sun, where she reviewed more than 3,000 plays over the course of 23 years.
Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Sam Bermas-Dawes is a producer for On The Record.
Rob is a contributing producer for Midday.
Teria is a Supervising Producer on Midday.