NT Live: Of Mice and Men ★★★★
National Theatre Live: Of Mice and Men
November 19th 2015
Like I've mentioned in previous reviews, during my GCSE's I studied Harper Lee's ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, a book which I saw adapted brilliantly for stage earlier this year, but as I studied this, the other classes would be studying John Steinbeck's ‘Of Mice and Men’, which focuses on George and Lennie, two migrant workers who move from place to place to find new work opportunities, and so when I sat to watch James Franco and Chris O'Dowd take on this masterpiece, it certainly did not disappoint!
Now one of the main themes in the story is about friendship, and this was incredibly apparent on stage with the chemistry of Franco and O'Dowd, who within the matter of 2 hours and 10 minutes really turn these characters into real, authentic, and transfixing personalities which ultimately become the highlight of my experience watching this production and I must point out just how incredible O'Dowd was in the role of Lennie, because to see the transformation from IT Crowd, to his numerous films, and now taking on one of the most influential characters in English literature is a real feet and one that I thought was one of the most captivating performances I have ever seen from an actor!
It wasn't just Franco and O'Dowd though who gave captivating performances, as the whole cast themselves, which included Leighton Meester, Ron Cephas Jones, Alex Morf, Jim Parrack, and Jim Norton, who gave incredibly strong performances throughout, all gave such enthusiasm and their chemistry was shown clearly on stage!
The production never missed a beat in delving into what made the character's tick, and even though this was an American production, it really didn't feel any different to what an English production would showcase, and also seeing the set being lowered from the rigging was incredibly, and this was heightened by the lighting, which really made you feel like you had been transported to the Californian state!
Overall, Of Mice and Men was an incredible, captivating production which really showed off James Franco and Chris O'Dowds acting variety to tell this beautiful story that has captured all those who has read the story about the true friendship and consequences of George Milton and Lennie Small.