Of Mice and Men at Leeds Playhouse reviewed by Dave Kelly
John Steinbeck’s classic novel is more than 80 years old but, with themes of economic migration, racism, prejudice and exclusion, it remains a parable for our times.
And, set in America's Great Depression, it can be applied to our current financial and social situation today.
For those of us who haven’t read the book, Of Mice and Men is a novella published in 1937, narrating experiences of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities.
However, can I just shock you? I never read the book at school or since. However, in life, great classics can elude you until you make time for them later on. And I'm glad I did!
Tom McCall's George is played with honest aplomb, as William Young's Lennie, our other main protagonist.
The story follows their work travel partnership, flitting between Lennie`s simplistic infatuation with all things cute and fluffy and George's patriarchal frustrated but loyal counterpart.
The plot and flow coming in at 90 minutes for the first half - slightly long for my comfort - but a lot of the story and content was delivered with excellent acting with a few gasps at good use of tense set pieces and emotive situations, building into a truly well delivered piece of theatre.
At times the flow of the story was slightly off pace but there was a lot of content to get through and, by the second act there was enough energy to boost it up to par, the ending particularly well executed.
I was going to take my ten-year-old son with me but I’m glad I didn’t as it may have been slightly too much for him. But, for anyone GCSE age, this is a must to see the text flow nicely in a way that brings the characters to life in an extremely powerful way, directed by Iqbal Khan.
It was truly breath-taking. Excellent stuff.