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Of Mice And Men review at Mind The Gap Studios Bradford

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Steinbeck’s tragic tale has a special place in the Mind the Gap repertoire and history. The company’s co-founder and artistic director Tim Wheeler read Of Mice And Men at school and it became a reference point for him.

Wheeler was profoundly affected by the plight of Lennie, the big ranch hand who does not know his own strength, and by the unresolved future of Lennie’s companion George. He wanted to provide artistic opportunities for those with disabilities, and the theatre company he eventually established embraces all actors, whatever their intellectual abilities.

In what is MTG’s fourth touring production of the story there is rather more dialogue for Lennie, played for the first time by Robert Ewens. Amiable, trusting, yet suddenly terrifying, his confusion is heartbreaking.

Jez Colborne has been George in all of the previous tours and the experience shows. George’s loyalty and exasperation are equally felt.

The story is told in flashback. Lennie is dead and George is visiting a prostitute, Jessica May Buxton, just to talk to her. Buxton is unfailingly excellent. Her responses are laconic, curious but hardly sympathetic.

Mike Kenny’s fluid structure and spare dialogue have the essence and power of Steinbeck’s story. Impressive use is made of top down projection to show a railway track from a speeding train, a field of rabbits and some exterior action from George’s recollections.

Watch and marvel, that is if you can get a ticket. On opening night it was revealed that this tour is just about sold out.

Production Information

Mind The Gap Studios, Bradford, February 10-11, then touring to May 21

Author
John Steinbeck, adapted by Mike Kenny
Director
Tim Wheeler
Producer
Mind The Gap
Cast
Jez Colborne, Robert Ewens, Jessica May Buxton
Running time
1hr 5mins

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