Theater Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Aaron Sorkin’s “red-hot” stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s tale of racial injustice in 1930s Alabama was a big hit on Broadway, and it looks set to take the West End by storm, too, Patrick Marmion said in the Daily Mail.

The brilliance of Sorkin’s “Hollywood-tight script peppered with gorgeous one-liners” is that this 62-year-old literary classic “feels like it was coined yesterday. Far from creaking like a period piece,” it’s a gripping drama that “reflects modern racial strife on both sides of the Atlantic.” Directed by Bartlett Sher, the production is also innovative in that it lets respectable white lawyer Atticus Finch ‘squirm’ in his position as a middle-class liberal who must avoid ‘apparent patrician’.

Rafe Spall is “amazing” in the role of Finch, Clive Davis said in The times. In a captivating performance, he portrays the lawyer as a courageous but arguably naïve man whose belief in decency “may not be enough to combat the poison lurking in his hometown”.

Dominic Cavendish agreed that this was a “revealing production” that “flamely captures the zeitgeist”. The Daily Telegraph. Sorkin took three “intelligent liberties” with the material: He “levered the narrative point of view of Finch’s admiring daughter, Scout”; stretched the crucial rape trial straight through the storyline, rather than holding it back for the second half; and gave the black characters a much bigger voice. Jude Owusu’s “solemn, sad Tom Robinson breaks your heart”, while Pamela Nomvete as housekeeper to the Finches Calpurnia “speaks volumes with every reproachful questioning look”.

Scout, Jem and Dill are all played by adults, Arifa Akbar said in The guard – a “high risk venture that pays off remarkably well”. Miriam Büther’s set is “flowing, flexible and unobtrusively beautiful”. The play retains a “slight lack of subtlety,” said Nick Curtis in the London Evening Standard: Atticus is too devout, the “kids too endearing and cheeky.” Still, this is a “powerfully uplifting” theatrical event. “All rise for a magnificent mockingbird.”

Gielgud Theater,London W1. Until August 13th Duration: 2h 50min (incl. break) Theater Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

Fry Electronics Team

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