Gang Aft Agley Productions
Adapted from the novel by John Steinbeck
Unity Theatre, 21st-23rd September 2006
There aren’t many stories that seem to be more relevant every time
I come across them. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ is definitely
one. Octave Mirbeau’s ‘Torture Garden’ is probably another.
But John Steinbeck wrote two - ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ and this,
his tale of dislocation, crushed dreams, and crushed people (not to mention
Lennie is a large man whose physical strength makes up for his limited
mental capacity. His friend George is much smaller, but he is very perceptive
and has his wits about him. Owning nothing except their bodies, their
clothes, and whatever they can fit in their bindle, the duo are forced
to wander through 1930s America looking for work as ranch hands. Only
their friendship and the dream of saving enough money to by a farm of
their own keeps them going through the great depression of their lives.
When they reach a new ranch, they find a couple of people willing to buy
into their dreams, but then ‘The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!’,
as Robert Burns wrote.
Gang Aft Agley have created a secondary school-friendly production of
this classic, complete with Little Britain humour (which the young audience
found hilarious) and ‘behind the scenes’ sketches, where the
Liverpool-based actors complained about their pay and get to grips with
their roles. The group’s version is quite clumsily abridged in some
places, and the richness of Steinbeck’s characters is somewhat damaged
in the process, but the company’s three male actors showed their
versatility in bringing the script to life.