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Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
A Giant Production
Friday, February 25, 2005
4.0
Of Mice & Men (really a 4.5) - I made the wonderful choice yesterday evening of attending this opening performance. Of course, as most other theater-going individuals, I have seen this particular play before and, again, the story line was no surprise. But it is amazing that, given that knowledge, the play is still a roller coaster of emotion. Just proves that Steinbeck was a master...and that the right company of actors can make this show come alive and wrench your heart over and over again.

The part of George (Steve Coulter)was carried out with expertise and, even though I was initially surprised by physical type, this soon became of little consequence. I felt his relationship with Lennie became stronger and truer as the night went on, but it was not severely lacking in the beginning. Lennie (Mark Kincaid) was very truthful in the creation of his character and I have "known" him in the guise of other mentally handicapped persons in my experience. This was not overplayed, but delicately and lovingly brought to life, with joy, wit, and a face that absolutely lit up with happiness, and just as easily darkened with worry and pain. Of course, the ending was superbly done, with timing, grace, and pathos. Thank you.

There were two characters who I felt were most fluid in their place in this story... most truthful and most reality based, with not a moment of "acting" taking place. These were Candy (Michael Cole) and Crooks (Neal Ghant). Both of these actors gave a reality to their characters that was, at times, so real that you could forget that they had to memorize these lines at some point....they were just living, breathing, and having conversation. Of course the scene where Candy's dog is taken away is guaranteed to make you emotionally sway, but Mr. Cole so subtly played his grief that it was truly a reflection of a man in the midst of men, who does not want to display his emotion.....and yet when he reaches out his hand from his bunk, after hearing the gunshot, to stroke the dog's blanket...that's all it took. Also, to hear him speak of what could have been, while sitting with Curley's wife's body, you could hear the rejection, resentment, disappointment, anger, and despair in every word, all of them were there! Mr. Ghant gave us a look into the heart of a black man in this time and place...as well as a perfect physicality of someone who had their back broken. He was so natural and so full of humor and bitterness, and understanding, and jaundice....just like human nature, so many conflicting emotions all appearing in flashes in moments.

I encourage everyone to go see this wonderful show, with its beautiful minimalist stage. It is a work that will reach into your heart and wring your emotions dry. And a word for the actor without a name, the dog who played Candy's dog. Now there was a true study in truth in acting....and she was beautiful!!!! Bravo canus major!

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