OF MICE AND MEN
WINNER: NODA Best Regional Drama 2013
Filled with tenderness, brutality, compassion and raw emotional power. John Steinbeck's own stage adaptation of his classic novel goes to the heart of what it means to be human, with equal measures of hope, companionship, cruelty and inequality in the tale of two drifters, looking for work on the ranches of Depression-era California. The heart-rending relationship between streetwise George and learning-disabled Lennie, and the marriage of their own America dream and depressing reality, still has as much to say to modern audiences as when the novel was written 75 years ago.
Cast and Creative Team
Lennie Small | Jeff Foster
George Milton | Adam Guest
Candy | Ron Frost
The Boss | Ian Jones
Curley | Andy Moore
Curley’s Wife | Chelsea Richter
Slim | Mik Horvath
Carlson | Ben Lawrence
Crooks | Jorden Myrie
Whit | Tom Farthing
Benji | Benji
Farmhands | Lucy Young | | Marie Stone | Heath Parkin | Ben Sherwin | Ciaran Hammond
Director | Barry Taylor
Set Designer | Terry Stevenson
Company Stage Manager | Phil Simcox
Deputy Stage Manager | Lucy Young
Wardrobe & Props Manager | Marie Stone
Lighting Designer | Stephen Greatorex
Sound Designer | Barry Taylor
Assistant Stage Manager (Set) | Heath Parkin
Production Graphics | Marie Stone
Photography | Chris Clarke
Benji’s Assistants | Pat & Carole Quinn
Playwright | John Steinbeck
"...sublime, first rate ... captivating performances, a noteworthy piece of drama..."
John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ tells the tragic story of George and Lennie, two migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in search of work but dream of one day settling down on their own piece of land. These two are close friends and George has taken on the responsibility as Lennie’s protector.
Lennie is a man of great strength but with limited mental ability and as the whole play rests on this role you need someone to play the part who has great acting skills and the sensitivity to make it credible. Jeff Foster did this brilliantly, his interpretation was sublime – what a captivating performance he gave. Adam Guest was first-rate as George portraying a believable interpretation of the character and capturing all the varying emotions that are associated with someone who has the responsibility for the care of another person particularly one who is so dependent and needy.
The ranch they eventually seek work at has some very ‘interesting’ characters. The Boss has a small-statured aggressive son, Curley, who was spiritedly played by Andrew Moore (the scene where he gets his comeuppence from Lennie was great) but his flirtatious and provocative wife I felt was somewhat understated by Chelsea Richter. Ron Frost did a sterling job as Candy an ageing farmhand and good acting and support came from Mik Horvath as Slim, Ben Lawrence as Carlson, Tom Farthing as Whit, Ian Jones as the Boss and Jordon Myrie, who was superb as Crooks the black stable-hand. Of course, special mention must go to Benji, the dog, for a truly dogged performance.
A cleverly designed set enabled the differing locations to be staged with simple adaptations and the use of props which were efficiently manoeuvred by the ‘stage-crew’ becoming ‘ranch-hands’. I liked the functional ‘watering hole’ but I won’t mention the fire!
Lighting and particularly the sound effects and music added to the overall ambience of the production. Congratulations to Barry Taylor, to his creative team and to the actors for producing a really noteworthy piece of drama. It is sad to say however, that even though the play was set over 80 years ago, there are still so many comparisons to be made with our world today.