City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Of Mice and Men, King's Theatre, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 27 April 2016

SMALL - Kristian Phillips (Lennie) and William Rodell (George) in Of Mice And Men.jpg
Show Details
King's Theatre
Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company
John Steinbeck (writer), Roxana Silbert (director), Liz Ashcroft (designer), Simon Bond (lighting designer)
Dave Fishley (Crooks), Nicholas Goode (Whit), Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Curley's Wife), Kristian Phillips (Lennie), William Rodell (George), Jonah Russell (Slim), Ben Stott (Curley), Dudley Sutton (Candy)
Running time: 

Opening on a bare stage suggestive of prairie onto which George (William Rodell) and Lennie (Kristian Phillips) stumble, this production of ‘Of Mice and Men’ rarely lets us lose a sense of vast spaces in which humans are isolated and from which they easily become alienated.

John Steinbeck’s own adaptation of his novella maintains its qualities as an elegy for what is represented by George and Lennie’s dream of what the United States’ founding fathers called ‘a modest competence’ of land and self-sufficiency and a howl of protest against the dehumanisation of the powerless.

A strong cast bear up the burden of the action and deftly move it on, although at times communicating the eloquence of inarticulacy almost defeats them.

When alone in each other’s company George and Lennie function as an ill-matched team, but confined on a ranch where they have sought work, the shallow pride of Curly (Ben Stott) and the casual provocation of his wife (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) bring about Lennie’s fate.

Dudley Sutton’s Candy, dreaming out the end of his days, and Dave Fishley’s Crooks, who can see into the future all too clearly offer a different form of chorus to this particular tragedy.

This is a production that works well, and on a variety of levels, with a fine ensemble cast and some impressive achievements in both setting and lighting, yet for this reviewer ultimately failed to satisfy. This personal reflection should not be taken as discouraging audiences, who will undoubtedly find much satisfaction in this fine revival of what deserves to be a part of the classic repertoire.

Til 30 April