Reviewed by Sasha Nye
The Theatre Royal in Brighton is probably one of my favourite theatres to go to. I love how traditional it is, the ambience, the decor. Even with its traditional appearance it fits in really well in the unique and diverse Brighton. It really puts you in the right mood for whatever show you are going to see. The staff are always very polite, friendly, extremely well presented and on hand to help with any query that you may have. A bonus is that it’s minutes walk from car parks and local transport. I am really pleased that I got to see what has to be my favourite show that I have ever seen to date, and I’ve seen a few.
Of Mice and Men, originally a novel by John Steinbeck, is set in the Great Depression in the United States. It tells us about the epic journey and unlikely friendship between the two main characters Lennie Small and George Milton. Being the mother of a child with autism and learning disabilities I am always a little nervous watching anything on stage or television when there is any type of portrayal of learning disabilities. However, from the start my maternal instincts kicked in and I fell in love with the character of Lennie, his innocence, youthful joy and his presence.
The set was beautifully crafted and used cleverly in a variety of ways to bring you in to the story and the characters surroundings. It started with Richard Keightley (George) and Matthew Wynn (Lennie) by the river bank giving the audience an insight in to their bond and relationship. I think these two men portrayed this intricate relationship beautifully. On one hand, showing how hard and frustrating George found caring for Lennie, but when Lennie was distressed how he was quickly able to sooth him enabling him to calm. He understood, accepted him and loved him. As the show went on I could feel how involved the audience was in the characters. With gasps and reactions from them as the story developed. In society there are still many prejudices to race, gender and sadly disability. Of Mice and Men is a beautiful portrayal of how far we have come and continue to improve in our acceptance of all.
I am not easily moved but I found myself emotionally involved from the start right to the finish. I smiled with Lennie as he laughed and interacted honestly and innocently with the people around him. The river bank ending was captivating, emotive and perfectly executed. A great ending to a magnificent play.
The direction of the whole thing was just magical and captivated the whole audience. Thank you, Matthew Wynn for your elegant, respectful and honest performance of Lennie.
A beautifully captivating, intelligent and emotive play.
Tickets cost from £15.90 to £41.40 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Of Mice and Men is at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from 12-17 March 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton or call the box office on 0844 871 7650.
Theatre Royal. New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1SD | 0844 871 7650