OF MICE AND MEN presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through Nov. 10. Read the show description.
If Cincinnati Shakespeare Company keeps this up, they may need to change their name to Cincinnati Classic Theatre Company. CSC follows OLIVER TWIST with another excellent adaptation of a literary classic, this time John Steinbeck’s OF MICE AND MEN.
I want to start off by saying I am very impressed by Jim Hopkins’ and Jeremy Dubin’s versatility. Going from Bill Sikes and Fagin to Lenny and George really showcases their range and talent.
The performances across the ensemble are top notch. Every character has their own clearly defined personality. The movement on stage is confident, natural and had purpose. Not once did I see anyone on stage out of character or not in the moment.
I liked how the energy of Charlie Cromer’s Curly was so different from the rest of the guys. There was great character rapport between Slim (Justin McCombs) and George (Jeremy Dubin). Ken Early as Crooks and Joneal Joplin as Candy brought hope and a quiet dignity to the roles. A good Lenny can make or break this show. Jim Hopkins brings a flawless and and totally believable Lenny to the stage. Maggie Lou Rader finds a great balance with the “hussy-ness” and loneliness of Curley’s wife. Other ensemble members include Randy Lee Bailey as Carlson, Marc Liby as The Boss, Zach Schute as Whit and Rufus as Dog.
On top of his excellent direction, Drew Fracher’s stage combat is the best I’ve ever seen for a production OF MICE AND MEN. The scene in the bunkhouse was smart, well-rehearsed and very believable. The barn scene built naturally and the unintentional finality was quick and shocking. Great job by Maggie Lou Rader in physically committing to it.
Technically the show excelled as well with costume design by Madeline Greenwalt, lighting design by Sara Watson and sound design by Doug Borntrager. Travis McElroy’s set design was simple yet extremely versatile. The set changes were well-choreographed and maintained the pace of the show. Since the changes were on the long side, I think it was smart to leave enough light to allow the audience to watch the changes in silhouette. Good work by stage manager Alice Flanders and crew.
OF MICE AND MEN is a classic story told with great heart and integrity. It is extremely well-done across all areas and stands as one of my favorite shows of the season.
Complete list of show times for OF MICE AND MEN.
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