Of Mice And Men
Performed at Church Hill Theatre, Morningside Road
Wednesday 2nd - Saturday 5th April 2008
This, John Steinbeck's own stage adaptation of his classic novel, is set in the California agricultural belt in the 1930's. It tells the story of George, an itinerant farmhand who travels from farm to farm in search of casual work, and Lennie, a simple-minded giant who doesn't know his own strength and who accompanies and is protected by George.
They share a dream of finding a little place of their own, where Lennie can "tend the rabbits" and where they can "live off the fat of the land" - but when Lennie unwittingly kills the wife of their employer's son, George must find a way to protect Lennie from the law and from vigilante farmhands bent on revenge.
Edinburgh Evening News - Thom Dibdin (Thursday, 3rd April 2008) ***
POWERFUL: EPT’s production of Steinbeck’s tale is gripping
Strong central pair carry play to stunning finale
A PAIR of strong and very well judged central performances ensure that this production of John Steinbeck's classic tale from Edinburgh People's Theatre holds its audience from start to finish. John Lally is George, the itinerant farmhand in 1930s America, and Pat Hymers is Lennie, his big, loveable but dim-witted pal. From the very first moment you can feel the bond between the two. As the play develops, the two performers allow their characters to grow. Lally gets all the human frailty of George. He tempers his exasperation at Lennie's ability to get himself into trouble, with a delightfully open and evocative telling of the wee dream of a farm of their own, which George has conjured up to dangle before Lennie as a carrot, to coax him through the day. Hymers is completely endearing as Lennie and as innocent a mortal as he needs to be for the play to work. Even when he kills small animals, he does so with no malice, but as a result of not knowing his own strength when he pets them. As Michael Mulligan's simple, minimal but very effective set carries the pair from besides the river to the ranch where they will meet their fate, the supporting characters are adequate to keep the play rolling along, without doing enough to come up to the standard of the central pair. Richard Godden as Candy, the old, incapacitated farmhand who befriends them, and Tony Sehgal as Slim, the friendly driver of a mule-team, both create reasonably substantial characters. The rest, however, struggle to convince. In particular, Magnus Gilroy as the boss's son, Curley, and Kathleen-Erin Fitzpatrick as Curley's wife, need to create larger characters and make better use of the stage. Although the production has failings, there is much more that is right about it. Indeed, the ending is so well done as to have stunned the opening night audience into a shocked silence. Powerful stuff, indeed.