IT’S arguably one of the most famous plays of all time. Certainly it’s one of the most popular.

All of which, as Andrew Langtree readily admits, does add a little bit more pressure to the revival of Of Mice and Men which opened at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre last night.

Andrew plays George one of the play’s central characters, searching for the American dream in the 1930s with his perennial companion Lennie “It’s such a great production to be involved in,” said Andrew,” who comes to Bolton fresh from starring in London’s West End in the musical Ghost.

“You couldn’t get much more of a contrast between the two roles,” he said. “Of Mice and Men is just so brilliantly written and observed and it’s amazing how relevant it is to today’s audiences.”

For Andrew, probably best known for playing Leon in Coronation Street and then Justin in Emmerdale, this will be his first show at the Octagon.

“I can’t wait to get in front of an audience,” he said. “It’s such an intimate theatre, it will really add to the atmosphere.

“It is quite a claustrophobic play with George and Lennie constantly looking for a better life.

“George is basically one of nature’s carers and he needs Lennie as much as Lennie needs him. “Without George, Lennie would not be able to cope but both men are really equally dependent on each other.”

The relationship between Andrew and Kieran Hill who plays the emotionally immature Lennie is at the heart of the play.

“We have to convince the audience that this pair have been together for ever,” said Andrew. “They have their rows and threaten to go their own ways but both know that it’s basically them against the world.”

It is 10 years since Of Mice and Men was staged at the Octagon.

“It’s one of those plays which so many people will have seen before,” said Andrew, “but it is just so well crafted that it doesn’t matter. I’ve read and re-read it and I’m discovering new things in it every time and I’m sure an audience will too.”

Of Mice and Men is known as an emotionally charged piece of theatre.

“I think people tend to forget their is also some nice humour in there too,” said Andrew.

From soaps to West End musicals and then Steinbeck, it’s clear that Andrew enjoys different challenges.

“To be honest, I’ve never had a set plan,” he said, “apart from that I hoped I could have a varied career.

“If something comes along that I think I would enjoy then I will go for it and I was absolutely delighted to get this part. It is one of the great works of the Twentieth Century.”

  • Of Mice and Men is at Bolton Octagon until Saturday, February 16. For details, contact the box office on 01204 556605.