BWW Reviews: OF MICE AND MEN Opens in Cincinnati
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck tells a great story of hope for something more while also knowing that one's lot in life is difficult to overcome. Reviewing Steinbeck's script and/or story is a ridiculous idea so I will not even touch it other than to say that obviously it was great. And this cast and crew did a great job interpreting the script and leaving all their emotions on the stage.
Jeremy Dublin as George was fantastic and brought the entire audience to tears during the final scene; Dublin was still wiping away tears during the curtain call and the rest of us were as well. Jim Hopkins as Lenny was also great. He gets even more praise because it took me half way through the first act to realize that he played Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist (who was one of the villains). Those two were the standouts, as well they should be, but Joneal Joplin as Candy deserves praise. Joplin's emotional monologue about getting old was subtle, calm and terrifying all at the same time. The rest of the cast was good as well although they just blended in with the production.
The only real negative is that the scene changes were too long. The sets were beautiful (kudos Travis McElroy) but there had to be a better way of changing from scene to scene. The play had multiple changes and it takes the audience out of the play by giving them time to talk or drift off into thought.
I enjoyed this production of Of Mice and Men but I still don't feel like I have seen the best from the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Like I stated above the two main leads were great but I am looking forward to a production where I can't imagine a cast member being anyone different. And lastly, a huge bonus to this show is that there is real dog on stage and he was adorable.
Of Mice and Men runs until November 10 at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and is directed by Drew Fracher.
Photo Credit: Rich Sofranko