Neil McKinven on his roles in Of Mice and Men

Neil McKinven on his roles in Of Mice and Men

4 March 2016

Interview: 'It's a cracking story by a master storyteller' Neil speaks about his role in Of Mice and Men.

Neil McKinven on stage in Of Mice and Men

You play two characters, Carlson and the Boss, can you tell us about these characters?
Boss. He's a superintendent on the ranch for a big land company which brings with it reward and pressure from above, sometimes manifesting itself in him being curt, rude and overtly aggressive to the guys. Decent bloke, perhaps not coping with the pressure of the job as well as he could. 

Carlson is a skinner. So a skilled worker. Seems happy with his lot and doesn't seem to harbour any great ambitions. 


What are the challenges of playing two different characters on stage?
It's a challenge that I'm really relishing. Often when an actor has to play two or multiple parts the instinct is to differentiate them by using accent. Here that wasn't an available option. So I try to use body language and speech rhythms and whilst trying to avoid making choices for the sake of finding differences, keeping it based in the character as if you were only playing the one. 


What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while working on the production?
I don't know if it's what I've learnt rather than what has been confirmed to me. That the best theatre and best experiences you'll have in theatre come from good teamwork. Like the guys we play, teamwork is essential. This company in all its elements have that ethos as a basic instinct. 


What’s the best bit about being on tour?
Selfishly, I love to visit parts of the country I might not ever go to without work. Although high street and city centres these days are increasingly homogenised, each part of the country still has its individual nuances which I like to experience while there still there.  


Why should audiences come and see Of Mice and Men?
It's a cracking story by a master storyteller, told in an open-hearted, honest and committed way. 

Of Mice and Men premieres at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it runs from 4 to 13 February 2016. It then tours to Cheltenham, Nottingham, Wolverhampton, Darlington, Blackpool, Cambridge, Brighton, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Oxford and Leicester where it concludes on 28 May.