Of Mice And Men
Steinbeck’s classic novella is brought to life
This article is from 2015.
First published in 1937, John Steinbeck’s much loved novella, Of Mice And Men, has graced the stage on many occasions all around the world, tackling major universal themes like friendship, loneliness and powerlessness in an oppressive world. And while this well-acted production does shine a light on such themes, it seems to be only skimming the edges of Steinbeck’s work.
George and Lennie are two migrant ranch workers searching for their place in the world and a better future for the two of them. George is a quick-witted, ambitious man, whilst Lennie is a large, simple minded, if well-meaning figure, that just wants to live off "the fatta’ the lan’” and look after rabbits. Together they search for their own little piece of paradise, only to discover harshness and, ultimately, tragedy that will ultimately destroy them both.
This two-hander is expertly acted by Michael Roy Andrew and Nigel Miles-Thomas, who bring these two iconic characters to life with such apparent ease that it is difficult to see anybody else performing these roles now. The physicality of the two men is identical to that described in the novella and the commitment to the role and to the intensity of the moment is admirable.
The play itself does not have the depth of the novella, which is largely down to its small cast. The complexities of the additional characters are missed out almost entirely and we are left with something not quite as rich and, therefore, not quite as enjoyable.
Gilded Balloon, 622 6552, until 31 Aug (not 17), 1.30pm, £9–£12 (£7.50–£8.50).