Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck @ The PlayhouseShare Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
“The best laid schemes....of mice and men” is from a poem by Robert Burns (Robbie to most) called “To a Mouse”. John Steinbeck had originally called his novella “Something that Happened” but Of Mice and Men is a far better title and in revisiting the story as a play at The Playhouse all the despair embedded in hopes and dreams in depression America comes flooding back from the time when you had to read it, had to write about it and never went there again.
This production is a collaboration between A Sport for Jove Theatre Company and the Seymour Centre under the direction of Iain Sinclair and is a triumph of casting, staging, lighting and sound as it brings this classic back to the boards and breaks your heart all over again. Lennie (Andrew Henry) and George (Anthony Gooley) is a very odd coupling, together they are travelling the backroads to make a few bucks to realise a dream. The dream is a figment of George’s imagination told and re-told to Lennie and for Lennie it has become a vision of a future. Lennie is mentally disabled but physically strong with a penchant for the softer things in life and George his constant protector as his master and carer arrive at a ranch where the bunkhouse dynamics create a situation headed for disaster. It will not be happy ever after on the little acreage with the chickens, rabbits and the alf alfa.
Steinbeck’s characters are a motley bunch of itinerants with disparate personalities, plenty of baggage and are brought to life by a wonderful cast of actors. The moments that cause us to pause and feel the pain are handled empathetically. Not knowing how to react at the end is a real dilemma, as it almost seems inappropriate to applaud.
On a lighter note there were family connections for director Sinclair with his mum and step-dad in the mix for big hugs, while Andre de Vanny as Curly and his real life partner, and on stage as ‘Curly’s wife’ Anna Houston, caught up with his dad and a small but supportive fan club.
Loved it. A wonderful production of a classic that we read at school under duress and now understand better than our English teachers ever expected. Life does that to you when you know that the “best laid schemes.....often go awry”.