Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Don't miss Of Mice & Men at Theatre Royal Brighton!

John Steinbeck's Of Mice & Men is often studied at school and we almost did it but our teacher decided on The Go-Between instead. I did read Steinbeck's classic novella but it wasn't until several years later. While I didn't read it at the impressionable age that people typically study it I still remember being moved by the story of George & Lenny. I had heard great things about the recent Broadway production starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd but missed seeing it when it was screened in UK cinemas so when I saw a new touring production was coming to the Theatre Royal Brighton I was keen to see what the stage version would be like.

The story is set in America during the Great Depression and follows George & Lenny as they travel from ranch to ranch trying to find work. The set design was simple but effective, and the lighting really made you feel us if the characters were sweltering as they crossed the land.

This is not an action-packed story but a character-driven piece and the whole cast were terrific but the two leads were particularly good (William Rodell & Kristian Phillips) . Within a just a couple of minutes I was wrapped up in these characters lives, sympathising with George's frustrations at looking after his friend who he clearly loved so much and even though you knew Lenny would drive you mad, you can't help but like him and want to give him a hug!

Kristian Phillips (Lennie) and William Rodell (George)
I always try to avoid spoilers so I won't mention any details but I think it is well-known that this story does not have a happy ending, so the fact that the two leads were so engaging meant that when I remembered exactly what was coming up I almost wished they weren't so good! As mentioned the whole ensemble were fantastic and Lovejoy fans will be pleased to see Tinker (Dudley Sutton) is still acting in spite of only recently turning 83! I also must give a special mention to Alsaka the beautiful dog who is apparently local.

Before going in we had been warned that the first act was longer than usual at 1 hour 15 minutes but it certainly didn't seem like it. Of Mice & Men is theatre as it should be - engaging, emotive and thought-provoking. It is on until Saturday with matinees tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday - don't miss it!


Oh and a final note - if you are lucky enough to be sitting in the Royal Box please don't try and wave at the actors!

Of Mice and Men
Theatre Royal Brighton
19th - 23rd April
2.30pm matinee Thursday & Saturday
7.45pm evening performances.

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