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Review | Of Mice and Men | Manchester’s Opera House

Review | Of Mice and Men | Manchester’s Opera House

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Based on the award-winning John Steinbeck 1937 novel, Selladoor Worldwide tackle the world-renowned story.

Touching on the current issues of the recent migrant crisis and the terrible destruction that natural disasters leave our world in, director Guy Unsworth believes that the themes in this play and even the storyline are relevant today.

It’s a hauntingly relevant reminder of the importance of home, companionship, and the pursuit of happiness and safety on this lonely planet – a planet tht must be taken care of.

David Woodhead’s set and costume design are simple but excellent. Leaving the audience mesmerised, Candy’s dog which is puppeteered by Kevin Mathurin holds the audience’s attention. I’ve never looked and believed a puppet to be so real before.

 

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Andrew Boyer plays Candy, with puppet work by Kevin Mathurin.

The themes of dreams and loneliness that are seen so strongly in the book are creatively presented on stage. While all characters have their own desires to live a different way, the one dream that was wonderfully portrayed onstage was Curley’s wives. Even though she didn’t achieve her idea of being in the movies, she reached her goal of being free from her current life. Unsworth’s direction of Curley’s wife leaving the stage after her passing was gorgeous, with Rosemary Boyle gracefully getting up, walking to the back of the stage, pick up her suitcase and walk out of the barn and “into the light”. Simple, but beautiful.

Tackling the powerhouse of a role of Lennie Small, Matthew Wynn is loveable, childish and gains the audience’s sympathy from the get-go. Contrasting to the character’s name, Lennie is a big man, and Wynn dominates the stage with his large presence. Adding a comic element to a seemingly sad show, Wynn captures Lennie’s gentle and kind soul with ease and acts like the audience’s friend throughout.

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Nailing George’s quit wit, Richard Keightley characterisation makes you want to hate him but love his loyalty to Lennie.

With terrific sound effects, designed by Benjamin Grant, adding tension to gut-wrenching moments in the show, it leaves the audience gasping and silent in horror.

A wonderful retelling of the story and a fabulous piece of theatre to watch, leaving you sat on the edge of your seat and taking you on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Of Mice and Men is showing at Manchester’s Opera House until Saturday, April 14, and tickets and information can be found here.

 

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