Tuesday, April 5, 2016

reviews - OF MICE AND MEN - Arizona Theatre Company

Scott Greer and Jonathan Wainwright
Photo by Tim Fuller
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 17th.

"Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck's bleak yet powerful story of ranch workers in the Great Depression, is receiving a superb production from Arizona Theatre Company. The combination of an excellent cast and rich creative elements with Steinbeck's enriching tale, which is full of heartbreak and sensitivity, has the ability to give us a deep understanding of its two main characters and to make us feel a part of the world they live in. ...As George and Lennie, Jonathan Wainwright and Scott Greer embody their roles with realism and nuance.... Greer is simply heartbreaking as Lennie. ...Director Mark Clements focuses on the dreams that the characters have, not letting the loneliness and sadness of these men overpower the strong bond of friendship that's at the core of the story. ......ATC's production of Of Mice and Men features a stellar cast, who deliver sensitive and emotionally moving performances, and solid direction that combine to create an exceptionally rewarding journey. ...". -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Arizona Theatre Company’s powerful production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” is a disturbing tale about two migrant California field workers as it explores several themes including friendship and loyalty, intellectual challenges, plus emotional immaturity that allows unintentional deaths during the dark days of the 1930s depression. ...Directed with throbbing emotional earnestness by Mark Clements, the play is brilliantly performed by an exemplary cast that capture each characters unique complexity to craft a story of touching honesty that gives audiences a heartfelt emotional wallop....The superlative ATC production continues through April 17." --Chris Curcio, KBAQ (click here to read the complete review)

"Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), in another extraordinary and stirring collaboration with Milwaukee Repertory, presented John Steinbeck's famous "Of Mice and Men" at Herberger Theater last night. As many know too well, the play/novel features innumerable sadly destitute, human stories--at the center of which are two nomadic ranch-hand friends, Lennie and George-- during the Great Depression. Yet, particularly in this production, an irrepressible, frail hope survived....as Lennie (Scott Greer) and George (Jonathan Wainwright)..Greer and Wainwright's skilled exchange established George's mildly irritated caretaking role and Lennie's challenged mental faculties with an ease that suggested they'd been at the same argument with the same reliance on one another for a good, long spell....Whereas the varied creative thematic repetition in concentric and overlapping circles is owing to Steinbeck, Director Mark Clements' wisdom deepened their marks with many effective choices....That scenic designer Todd Edward Ivins "loves to tell stories through design" [per program bio] was evident in every board and nail. Much like every character was depicting a similar plight, every set change--until the final scene--became increasingly suffocating...when a story is told as flawlessly, unflinchingly and lovingly as this ATC production, a different meaning was provided berth to wriggle to the surface. That is, if honoring the holiness of human generosity and connection is at the heart of this play, then perhaps a window to uplifting interpretation presents even within the closing violent tragedy...."
-Jennifer Haaland, Examiner.com (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"When Lennie, the manchild of John Steinbeck's classic, OF MICE AND MEN, points with slightly bent finger to some undiscernible spot in the ether, it is as if a philosopher was seizing at a new concept...crafted by Scott Greer in a stirring performance that cuts straight to the heart and gives heart to Arizona Theatre Company's current production....protected only by the good graces of his fellow traveler and begrudging caretaker, George (Jonathan Wainwright)....He is a teddy bear with the power to crush a fist or pat the life out of a pet....Despite some acting that seemed a bit too mechanical and inadequately inspired, there are some notable exceptions....(Mark) Clements' artistic and choreographic sensibilities make this production a virtual work of art. Todd Edward Ivins' moveable sets glide into place, and a clearing in the woods transforms to a too perfectly engineered bunkhouse. ...There is substance and depth enough to make OF MICE AND MEN a must-see before it leaves town."  -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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