James Franco’s Of Mice And Men Gain Critics’ Respect

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James Franco and Chris O’Dowd’s Broadway revival of John Steinbeck’s classic Of Mice And Men was critically acclaimed. The critics even said the show was “gripping”, “flawless” and “breathtaking”.

The adaptation of the 1937 novel starred Franco and O’Dowd, together with Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester. It opened at the Lonacre Theatre in New York City on Wednesday, April 16, and immediately gained positive acclaim from critics.

David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter said the production was “gripping, grounded and emotionally penetrating” and praised O’Dowd as the star of the show for his “tremendous” performance.

He also described Franco as “not quite a natural onstage” but insisted he had “beautiful chemistry with O’Dowd.”

Marilyn Stasio of Variety praised the director Anna D. Saphiro and the cast, saying,

“(Shapiro) turns in an impeccably mounted production without a single blemish. The ensemble acting is flawless. The design work is breathtaking… There’s no way to overpraise the nine men and one woman (Leighton Meester, holding her own nicely…) in this ensemble who bring Steinbeck’s characters to life.”

Elysa Gardner of USA Today stated the show to be a “vivid, sensitive performance of the piece” with an “an excellent cast.”

Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier also praised for O’Dowd, saying that his performance was “riveting” and then added,

“The real surprise in Anna D. Shapiro’s finely staged production is Chris O’Dowd… The gifted comedic actor brings a studied and skillful physicality to (the role of Lenny)… O’Dowd makes Lenny sympathetic without ever stooping to caricature.”

It was the Broadway debut for all three of the leading actors.

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