Of Mice and Men | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Of Mice And Men, Organic Theater Company. "It's just the talking," muses one stable hand. "One guy talking to another guy, and it don't make no difference if he don't hear or understand. It's just being with someone, that's all." This hunger for home and companionship is at the root of John Steinbeck's classic tale of two friends struggling to survive in the harsh world of the Depression--a universe not that far removed from our own, in which people are ever more isolated from one another.

The specific requirements of this play, extending even to the actors' physical appearances, allow for relatively few interpretive choices. This Organic Theater Company production may have deviated from the norm out of expedience or artistic intention, but overall, opening night gave the impression of a show some four rehearsals behind in its development.

As always, Jonathan Wilson's direction is deft and confident. Daniel Allar is suitably sympathetic as Lennie, with sturdy supporting work from Raoul Johnson as the elderly Candy and Willie B. Goodson as the sullen Crooks. The rest of the mostly young cast deliver vigorous if academic performances. Perhaps a little more time will make them comfortable enough during the ensemble scenes to find the music behind the words. This remains a stageworthy if flawed production of a venerable American tale.

--Mary Shen Barnidge

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