At least one of three actors in Mind the Gap’s premiere production, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck’s classic, adapted by Mike Kenny, is learning disabled.
The plot centres on two farm hands in 1930s America. George is astute whilst Lennie, is always in trouble.Their search for work and a permanent place to live, unites them.
Jez Colborne, as George, feels responsible for the less able Lennie yet is frustrated by him. He displays the ultimate act of love at the tragic end. Robert Ewens takes on the role of Lennie, a gentle giant who likes to stroke things. He adores George but, his strength becomes his downfall when he accidentally crushes his boss’s hand and breaks a woman’s neck.
The only female actor is Jessica May Buxton whose main roles are as Suzy, a prostitute and Curley, the boss’s wife. She also effectively plays several male parts. The acting, including American accents, is top notch as are the sound effects by Si McGrath.
The lack of scenery spoils it slightly. The prostitute’s bed, more like a hospital bed than a place for carnal relaxation, remains on stage throughout. I think it becomes a ranch house but my imagination won’t stretch that far. But this is no reflection on the cast especially any who have bravely defied their disability.
The audience are mostly schoolchildren, there, not to study the background of the actors, but a Steinbeck creation which is one of literature’s greats.