John Steinbeck's play title of ‘Of Mice and Men’ is said to be influenced by Robert Burns - Steinbeck like Burns was a great sympathizer of the agrarian working folk’s lot and their never ending battle with the elements to scrape a living from the land. No better description of the plight of the American migrant workers in the late thirties exists than his novel, The Grapes of Wrath, which put words and stories to the photographic images of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans.
John Dove the director for this production at the Lyceum comes very close to creating the perfect Steinbeck character images with his clever casting, and choice of actors.
William Ash who plays George is quite exceptional as are the all the supporting cast, but the laurels must go to Steve Jackson for his portrayal of Lennie - it was exceptional, and had the audience on the edge of their seats for most of the production. You could almost hear the audience mentally whispering ‘don’t touch the puppies Lennie’.
Peter Kelly as Candy also needs a mention for a good convincing performance.
The set was very innovative and clever, creating the perfect picture platform for both the actors and the audience. Here in the shadows of history could lie the answers to the present World in recession.
There are many lessons to be learned from this play, if we care to listen. A very good production and well worth it’s corn.
Of Mice And Men runs until 17 March at The Royal Lyceum Theatre