Of Mice and Men, theatre review
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
The most striking thing about this well-crafted adaptation of John Steinbeck’s exam staple comes with the addition of the music of Heather Christian.
Her sparse, anguished cries well evoke the sun-scorched isolation of the men who found themselves thrown together in back-breaking toil on the remote ranches of the Depression-era United States.
These were lonely and loveless times with existence and emotion pared down to the very barest of necessities – American Dreams blown away by the dust bowl winds.
New York-based Christian provides the only female voice in the play and the addition of her extraordinary brand of avant-garde Americana by new associate director Mark Rosenblatt, who spotted her in Mission Control at the National Theatre, brings welcome originality to his first production.
Rosenblatt has been cautiously sparing with her contributions in what is otherwise a garrulous play which includes considerable repetition from the plain-spoken men.
At times the accents wavered a little but the performances were none the less compelling - particularly Dyfrig Morris as Lennie whose inevitable descent into tragedy is poignantly portrayed.
Perhaps it goes a little far to suggest - as Rosenblatt does - that this is a play about zero-hours contracts and modern employment rights (or the lack of them).
But it does starkly illustrate the compromises needed to survive in a harsh, harsh world.
To 29 March
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 The nine most warmongering countries in the world revealed
- 4 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
Evian Christ cancels Reading festival appearance after being 'trapped in a cage' at Leeds by staff
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn