Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Fresh new version of timeless Pulitzer Prize-winning novel
Iconic novel To Kill A Mockingbird is a well-loved classic, so it's no surprise that this new production has been attracting a lot of attention, especially after it picked up a top award following a run in London's West End.
The play is currently touring the UK and I saw it early on at Malvern Theatres, ahead of its visit to Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre in November. It then continues on to cities including Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Leeds, Manchester and Bath before returning to London at The Barbican theatre.
impressive child actors star in To Kill A Mockingbird
It opens with a sparse stage - a corrugated iron backdrop, a tyre hanging from a tree and no actors, but that quickly changes as they move from their seats among the audience to the stage, each reading this Harper Lee novel that so many of us have experienced through school.
When their character is not in the plot, the actors sit around the edge of the stage engrossed in dog-earred copies of the novel, as though the action is being created by the words on the page going through their minds.
It's a clever touch to make each actor in this production also a reader of the book (like most members of the audience will have been at some point in their life). Just one of the effects that helped clinch it the Best Play Revival title at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2014.
Emotive scenes on a sparse stage.
The story follows a hotbed of bigotry and honour in the deep south of 1930's America through the innocent eyes of siblings Scout and her brother Jem. It's a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that still sells nearly one million copies a year to this day.
As the children of honourable lawyer Atticus Finch, they encounter racial prejudice and injustice in their small town and what it means to stand by your principles, even when everything stands against you.
Learning to understand their father, their scary neighbour Boo Radley and why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird, it's a seamless story that packs a powerful punch on morality with tense courtroom drama and endearing child adventures along the way.
Endearing child adventures in To Kill A Mockingbird
This fresh new production brilliantly toes the line between adding something new but also keeping very true to the mesmerising story, as well as the award-winning film starring Gregory Peck.
All the cast is in fine form but what makes this production so superb is the talented young actors, who are key to the whole performance. Three children share the lead roles but I saw Rosie Boore as Scout, Billy Price as Jem and Milo Panni as Dill, who were all exceptional, especially at maintaining their southern drawls.
It's a worthy adaptation of a well-loved novel, and like the book, it will leave you emotional yet also inspired.
March 17 - 21 - Southampton Mayflower
March 24 - April 4 - Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse
0113 213 7700
April 13 - 18 - Plymouth Theatre Royal
April 20 - 25 - Newcastle Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21
April 27 - May 2 - Cheltenham Everyman
May 12 - 16 - Richmond Theatre
0844 871 7651
May 19 - 23 - The Lowry, Salford, near Manchester
0843 208 6000
June 24 - July 25 - London Barbican Theatre
020 7638 8891
Scout - Jemima Bennett, Rosie Boore, Ava Potter
Jem - Harry Bennett, Billy Price, Arthur Franks
Dill - Leo Heller, Milo Panni, Connor Brundish
Atticus Finch - Daniel Betts
Boo Radley - Christopher Akrill
Reverend Sykes - Geoff Aymer
Mayella Ewell - Victoria Bewick
Nathan Radley/Mr Gilmer - David Carlyle
Maudie Atkinson - Natalie Grady
Heck Tate - Jamie Kenna
Link Deas - Phil King
Calpurnia - Susan Lawson-Reynolds
Tom Robinson - Zackary Momoh
Bob Ewell - Ryan Pope
Walter Cunningham/Judge Taylor - Christopher Saul
Stephanie Crawford/Mrs Dubose - Connie Walker