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July 18, 2006 > Of Mice and Men: More Man Than Mouse

Of Mice and Men: More Man Than Mouse

by Julie Grabowski

Of Mice and Men is the classic John Steinbeck story of George and Lennie, two itinerant ranch hands hoping for a place of their own on the land of California's Central Valley. When a tragedy at their new job threatens the men's future, George must once again protect his childlike friend from an unsympathetic world. Under the direction of Jackie Black, the Douglas Morrisson Theatre offers a sturdy production with wonderful fluidity and energy.

The relationship between George and Lennie is the heart of the play and pleasing to watch, but Jake Vincent's fantastic George overshadows his companion. Vincent perfectly captures the frustrated, cautious, and at times, harsh George, delivering a full-bodied, engaging performance of a man caught between dreams and duty. Kyle Green is an apt Lennie, wearing the large, simple-minded man with steady ease, but seems a bit pale amid the other characters on stage. He fades into the background at times, and the dangers of Lennie's strength are more told than felt; disappointingly understated in the fight with Curley and the barn scene with Curley's wife.

Fred Sharkey is delightful as the old, one-handed swamper Candy; lively and endearing with every word. The character of Carlson is also a strong presence, played by Dale Rosen. The one female presence, Curley's wife, is uncomfortably absent of allure, haughty and abrasive despite her supposedly roving eye. The remaining players adequately serve the whole, but the performance's power is unequivocally in the characters of George and Candy.

Though the second act flags a bit in the wake of the stronger first half, the play is a success. Complimented by Donald Tieck's breezy guitar score, Jean-Francois Revon's simple, colorless set design perfectly frames the action, from the worn dry wood of the bunkhouse to the softly living backdrop of blue sky. Of Mice and Men is an enjoyable, well-played production deserving of attention.

Performances run July 14 through July 30, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors 50 and over, and $14 for students with I.D. This show is not recommended for junior viewers.

Tickets and further information are available during box office hours, Tuesday through Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and one hour before showtime. Call (510) 881-6777 or visit the Douglass Morrisson Theatre online at www.dmtonline.org.

Of Mice and Men
Thursday-Saturday, July 14 - July 30
8 p.m. (Sunday, 2 p.m.)
Douglas Morrisson Theatre
22311 N. Third Street, Hayward
(510) 881-6777

 
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