Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men is a gift of a story that effortlessly lends itself to the stage for its depiction of the relationship between a pair of mismatched migrant farm workers as they drift in search of work in Depression-era California.
It is a tale that is as touching as it is tragic, and here Nigel Miles-Thomas’ adaption condenses things into a two-hander where the banter of the itinerant Lennie and George evokes their world and the fateful characters they meet. It is the harsh vagaries of that world – unemployment, prejudice, jealousy, greed – that sticks them together and defines what has become an iconic friendship, notable for its rituals – Lennie forces George to tell again and again the dream of the ranch they will buy, while George is forever chiding Lennie for his penchant for soft animals and killing them with love.
This is a well thought-out adaptation from Nigel Miles-Thomas, who is also responsible for the sensitive direction. He also plays the gentle man-mountain Lennie, looming over the diminutive figure of George, played by Michael Roy Andrew, whose quick mind is held back by a lack of education and his protective feelings for his friend. Both inhabit their characters convincingly and their understated approach is all the more emotional for it.
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