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Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 4352

SHOWING : September 14, 2012 - September 30, 2012



Two drifters, one dream: "to get up a stake, buy their own place, and live off the fat of the land." Will George and Lennie live their dream of having their own place? That is the question John Steinbeck seeks to answer in his Depression-era classic, Of Mice and Men. George, the brains of the two, has promised to care and keep out of trouble Lennie, a childlike man who doesn't know his own strength. Having just arrived at a California ranch to work up that stake, George cautions Lennie "to keep quiet and stay out of trouble". But Lennie, unable to control his childlike impulses, finds himself in a whole world of trouble when he tangles with the wife of the boss's son. Finding no way out of this situation, George decides upon the final exit strategy to keep Lennie out of trouble and danger once and for all.

Director Joanie McElroy
Stage Manager Elizabeth Bigler
Costume Design Tanya G Caldwell
Set Design Katy Clarke
Sound Design Robert Peterson
Costume Design Catherine Thomas
Lighting Design Gary L White
Lenny Small James Beck
Candy James Connor
Whit Daniel Curtis
Curley's Wife Sarah Frey
Boss Ray Greene
Slim Joseph McLaughlin
Carlson Allen Stone
Crooks Greg Van Buren
George Travis Young
Curley Mike Yow
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Finely Crafted
by playgoer
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" is a well-known novella, translated ably to the stage by the author. Lionheart Theatre's production brings the story to believable life under the always able direction of Joanie McElroy.

The core of the story is the relationship between Lenny and George, and the actors protraying them get the relationship just right. James Beck's Lenny is slack-jawed and innocent-eyed. Travis Young's George is electric, mercurial, and controlling, with a soft side occasionally visible. They work together as a team, two sides of a lopsided whole.

Surrounding them are a troupe of supporting players that add to the overall effect. Mike Yow is a brash, bullying Curley. Sarah Frey is his straightforwardly flirtatious wife with a head of beckoningly soft curls (although I wish they had been gathered more behind, to prevent obstruction of her face). The ranch hands are a varied lot, with the most impressive performance coming from James Connor as a sweet, passively hopeful Candy. Even his dog (played by Carly Bigler) gives a true performance, appearing slow and old onstage, although normal dog exhuberance takes the fore after the show.

The set, designed by Katy Clarke, provides the perfect background for the story. In front of the stage proper are a few fronds of grass, suggesting the swampy ground that is the setting for the start and end of the play. A barn roofline limned in narrow pieces of raw wood hangs above, while reclaimed wood forms a wall, barn doors, and bunks. It's a rustic, rough-hewn setting with furnishings that move smoothly to suggest the different locales called for by the script.

All elements of the show work together to present a unified vision. Costumes and lighting don't draw attention to themselves. They serve the story. All the performances do too. Lionheart has presented an affecting, heartfelt production of "Of Mice and Men" that holds together extremely well, thanks to the sure hand of director Joanie McElroy. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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