This stage interpretation of John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men involved only two actors. Adapted by Nigel Miles-Thomas (who also plays Lennie) this interpretation of Steinbeck’s original story focuses solely on the two main characters, George and Lennie.
[star rating =4/5]
Any dialog with any other characters in the story was left up to the audience’s imagination. This meant there was a very strong focus on the relationship between the two friends, facing the world alone together and as close as brothers.
The famous American story is set in the South, with George trying to take care of his strong yet simple-minded friend Lennie and buy some land so that the two of them can live in peace. However, in the end, George is unable to protect Lennie and the story ends in tragedy.
It’s a story that’s gone down in literary history and is set to do so again as Miles-Thomas, along with fellow actor Michael Roy Andrew, bring it to life on stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Miles-Thomas made a believable and convincing Lennie, his great hulking figure made to look almost endearing by his portrayal of this naïve and child-like character. He did a good job of maintaining the southern accent too.
Roy Andrew’s accent, however, slipped from time to time.
He did manage to strike just the right balance between concern for Lennie and frustration at him while he was playing George.
It helped to make the characters and their relationship feel real, like someone had plucked George and Lennie from Steinbeck’s book and turned them into flesh.
The biggest drawback of the performance was the venue.
It was completely ill-suited to any sort of stage production on account of the support beam for the ceiling in the middle of the room. Audience’s had to crane their necks to peer round it just to get a proper view of the stage. It spoiled the show a little bit, but thankfully not enough to obstruct the audience’s enjoyment completely.