Of Mice and Men Review

The Rep, Birmingham – until Saturday 8th April 2023

Reviewed Nadia Dodd


The story is set within the times of the Great American Depression in the 1930’s. The world had become a very dark and uncertain place to live. John Steinbeck the writer had no issues with introducing the audience to the characters which were living in such cruel and desperate times.

This production has been directed by Iqbal Khan who wanted to bring to bring this story to life as he was very interested in the characters.

We get introduced to George and Lennie, two close friends, almost like brothers, they are farm hands who seem to stick together no matter what. George, played by Tom McCall is extremely protective of Lennie who is labelled ‘slow’ and ‘dim’. He is a good worker, manual labourer, he has a super strength compared to other workers. All George would like is to earn their money and keep a quiet life. Save enough to live the American Dream but Lennie, played by William Young is making this difficult for him.

Following an incident with a lovely young lady who got the wrong idea about Lennie, they fled looking for work on a new ranch where no one knew them. Lennie has a tenderness about him, he dreams of petting rabbits or anything soft. Sadly, Lennie does not realise his own strength.

After finding work at a new ranch, we are introduced to other characters, all of which are very different. The Boss of the ranch is a little unsure of Lennie but George assures him that he is a good worker and he won’t be disappointed. Curly, played by Riad Ritchie is a fiery character, recently married and moved in with his bride, played by Maddy Hill. Curly’s wife has an eye for the men on the ranch, or so they think. She really wants someone to talk to, she’s lonely there as the only woman.

The story unfolds covering friendships and the want of a better life, but also racism and prejudices. Crooks, played by Reece Pantry, the only black man at the ranch was very aware of feeling different due to his colour.

The set rotates between work place and bunk house, seamlessly moved by the cast themselves depending on the scene. The costumes were perfect and the lighting very harsh, giving the whole play a real intense dramatic feeling, although there were some lighter quotes that had the audience quietly laughing.

A real close look at how in tough circumstances, people can stand together united. The cast were amazing portraying this 80 year old book onto the stage, just mesmerising.