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April 10, 2017
Review: Of Mice and Men

OF MICE AND MEN. Photo by Jonathan Slaff
Onomatopoeia Theatre Company's Of Mice and Men is a great production whether you know Steinbeck's work by heart or are learning about it for the very first time. It is true to the text and conveys the complexity of men's friendships in a way rarely seen today or in the 1930s, the era in which the play is set.

It is hard for me to recall another play with such spot-on casting. Thomas R. Gordon as George and Alexander Kafarakis as Lennie are excellent foils playing this iconic pair. Everyone else is also well cast, from Jim DiMunno as the elderly Candy to Dwayne Walker-Dixon as Crooks; the latter's physical portrayal of a twisted and crippled ranch worker is extraordinary.

Thaddeus J. Abbott as Whit, Jamie Geiger as Slim, Samuel Shurtleff as Carlson and Joe Sexton as The Boss all embodied their roles as a motley crew of Depression-era ranch workers very well. And hell if Curley (a pugilistic Xavier Reminick) doesn't have the requisite curly hair that his wife (Lisa Monde) describes as wire as she lists her many disappointments in her husband of a few weeks and in her life in general.

There is a live dog (Shanti Balcon) in this production as Candy's Dog. She is clearly not a trained stage animal but I found that actually made the production more interesting, as the actors stayed in character to keep her engaged on stage for her scenes, which were more natural and authentic for it.

The set is simple but beautiful and well done, with some bales of hay and a makeshift bunk bed depicting all of the different scenes. It was easy to tell when the characters were somewhere new despite the set not physically changing. The sound, lighting, direction and acting ensure the audience is never left behind.

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