OF MICE AND MEN: NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE REVIEW
We may have all heard of the story, many have read it, other studied it. Based on a book by John Steinbeck and published in 1937 this is the story of two men George Milton and Lennie Small of whom these two ranch workers go from place to place in search of work in California during the great depression in the United States and who dream of one day owning their own ranch. It is a story of friendship, the American Spirit and what it means to be human.
Featuring a cast of Richard Keightley (The Mousetrap) who will play George alongside Matthew Wynn (Hamlet, Almeida) as Lennie. Joined on stage by Andrew Boyer (Candy), Cameron Robertson (Slim), Darren Bancroft (Carlson), Kevin Mathurin (Crooks), Harry Egan (Whit), Kamran Darabi Ford (Curley), Rosemary Boyle (Curley’s Wife), and Robert Ashe (The Boss). Directed by Guys Unsworth and brought to us by Selladoor in association with The Marlowe Theatre Company embarked on a 10-week tour, and has already taken in various venues since is started on 29th January. Its penultimate venue is here at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 24th March.
So my confession is I am one of those people who doesn’t read, so I’d never read this book, nor had I ever seen the film. My reading in the lead up to this to learn about the play was that this was a play about friendship, and that was it.
Now what I saw was an exceptional cast led by Richard Keightley and Matthew Wynn who played George Milton and Lennie Small in the lead roles who made me believe in this friendship. I don’t want to give the storyline away to anyone that still hasn’t seen or read the play, but I felt an emotional connection towards these characters, for the dreams they had together, the focus on trying to achieve the dream and the choices they made individually and together. The happiness that they experienced, the humour between them and the sadness we experience.
It is easy to fall into this world and assign people to fill the places in this play that you may know in real life, comparing to how they act, how you look after them and what they may do without you. Would they be able to cope? Who knows but your friendship is such that you stick around and persevere because you’re in it together.
The staging was perfect, from the simplicity of the bushes to the wooden structure of the barn to the bedroom of which all the grain workers shared. The production had detail also, it was about the smoke machine that occasionally blew across and into the audience. The fire that was made and the smell that filtered throughout the venue. These touches made us feel like we were there. If they had tomato ketchup like our character Lennie longed for I’m sure we would have smelt it.
I honestly came out of this play stunned. By the ending which brought great sorrow to me, the brilliant acting of which was needed to deliver this legendary story with the credit it needed and a fabulous all round production.
The show is on until 24th March, if you can you need to see it.