Benjamin Maio Mackay
NT LIVE: Of Mice and Men - 4.5 Stars
This superb theatrical production of John Steinbeck’s famous play proves that the story is just as relevant now as it was in 1937!
The first thing to comment on is the superb cast. Chris O’Dowd is most commonly known for his comedic work, but he really proves himself as a serious actor in this production. O’Dowd plays Lennie and for the entirety of the play he sustains the appearance of being mentally slow, through his speech and body language. There were a few occasions in the play where O’Dowd let his American accent slip and his natural Irish accent really stands out. Other than that his performance was faultless.
James Franco plays George, the smarter more controlling of the two leading characters and he also delivers an amazing performance. By the end of the performance all the actors were clearly emotionally and physically drained, demonstrating just how much effort they put into the play night after night!
The set was also very clever with seamless changes and quite a detailed series of sets. It was directed well by Anna Shapiro and she effectively brought together all the elements needed to make the play as strong as it was.
While the actual production was superb National Theatre Live still have a little way to go when it comes to the filming and broadcasting of the astonishing plays. On a couple of occasions throughout the broadcast there were instances (primarily when characters first entered) where you missed their first line or two of dialogue. Also sometimes the fast change of camera angles could be slightly disorientating drawing you out of the scenario in the play.
Overall this is superb play with a wonderful cast, set and direction! I strongly encourage you to check this out along with all the other National Theatre Live productions!
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas