Of Mice and Men
Octagon Theatre Bolton
17 January – 16 February 2013
Reviewed by Danielle Robinson
When we arrived at the Bolton Octagon there were plenty of available car parks, which made it so convenient to park the car, the Octagon building was within short walking distance and was an impressive modern contemporary building set with many grand buildings surrounding such as the Town Hall and museum. On entering the Octagon the ticket office was easy to find and the staff were fast, helpful and efficient. Although the rest of the building has many rooms and staircases these were all well signposted. It was easy to find our seats and although we were near the back of the theatre we were able to see and hear the cast perfectly.
The theatre itself was cosy and intimate. The audiences seats were all around the stage, and the actors and actresses really used this to their advantage, coming up into the audience, this really made you feel involved and part of the story. The program was interesting and informative, although it was quite a heavy read.
The comparison made between the dog 'Berry' being shot and 'Lennie' being shot was genius, it was played so well by the cast and was emotive, kept your attention and portrayed how learning disabilities were unrecognised so many years ago. 'Berry' played a fantastic part, but he did adlib his own part and barked – this made his seem more endearing to the audience. The story was played simplistically and was made so easy to follow, the staging and props were excellent, with the best being the swamp and the fire – they really helped to set the scene! The swamp and fire could have made changing the set between scenes difficult but this appeared to be done smoothly. The clothes, music and language used were all era appropriate and you could see a lot of attention to this had been paid.
The accents of all the cast were consistent and obviously well-practiced. 'Lennie' and 'George' worked so well together, they played their parts perfectly and you could see the bond the pair were portraying – this really added to you being able to buy into the story and added some comedy to such a deep story- it was a good example of how 'bromances' have been happening throughout history! 'Candy' and 'Crooks' – both their characters were endearing and pitiful and really made you feel sorry for them.
The interval was placed perfectly and left you wanting more. It was very clear that this was a labour of love for all involved and the energy put into this by all the cast could be seen by the audience which made the story being told so captivating.
I would definitely recommend 'Of Mice and Men' and I would definitely visit the theatre to see this again.
Tickets cost from £9.50 – £23.50. For more information and to book tickets click here.
Photo credits: Ian Tilton
David Fleeshman as Candy with Berry playing Candy’s Dog
Kieran Hill as Lennie