The idea of living “off the fatta the land” seems as topical today as it was in the 1930s when John Steinbeck was writing his best-known and most studied novel.
Taking just what you need, working just as hard as you must and helping out your fellow man all came to life in ‘Of Mice and Men’, the latest production from The Bancroft Players, whose home is at Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre.
Steinbeck’s own script was based on his novel, just a few years later, and he made a few changes, but the essence remains the same. George and Lennie travel across the farmland of California, working where they can and retaining a dream of their own farm, just big enough for the two of them to raise a handful of beasts and a crop of multi-coloured rabbits.
In the QMT production that finished on 3 March, Peter Matthews’ George thinks on his feet and protects Doug Brooker’s Lennie as far as he possibly can. They put in a credible performance and seemed to have worked hard on portraying Steinbeck’s mis-matched yet perfectly-paired characters. Lennie alternately lolloped across the stage and sat gazing confusedly at the action going on around him.
The remainder of the cast helped set the scene and lead us to the inevitable ending, including the dejected yet flirtatious Sam Wilson as Curley’s Wife and a particularly notable Candy from Brian Seal – I was surprised at curtain call to see his left hand had not, in fact been mangled.
A simple stage set and generally convincing accents made for an enthralling production that was entertaining and – hopefully – informative for the numerous GCSE students enticed along to see what remains a set text.
Member since: 31st May 2012
Writer and sax player. Brought up in Hitchin and - apart from uni and some ensuing madness of life in London - I've always lived here.