To Kill A Mockingbird at Theatricum Botanicum
The Theatricum Botanicum’s Summer season has begun & they’re off to one of their most powerful & meaningful years thus far. Thanks, in part, to their production of Christopher Sergel’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which opened to a sold out crowd this past weekend.
Set in a small 1935 Alabama town, we’re quickly introduced to young man called Jem Finch (Clint Blakely) & his younger, precocious, tom boy sister, Jean Louise, better known as Scout (Lily Andrew). Their beloved Father, Atticus (Richard Tyson), is a respected Attorney in town currently raising eye brows as he is defending a black man being charged of raping Mayella Ewell (Claire Bryett Andrew). Mayella is the oldest of 7 children & practically their Mother as Mr. Ewell (Thad Geer) loves his alcohol bottles a little too much, leaving much responsibility on young Mayella.
Next door to The Finch’s resides The Radleys, including their son nick named Boo. Boo Radley has not been seen in nearly 20 years, which makes everyone wonder what is going on, why won’t this young man come out? Is he dangerous? Crazy? Scout, Jem & their new friend, Dill (Nathan Adorney), plot ways to try to get Boo to come out; all silly hijinks to no avail.
Lily Andrew as Scout, who is such a beloved heroine in the literary world, is very wise beyond her years & superb as this young girl attempting to grasp her head around all the negativity going on among her. She doesn’t understand why the black folk of her town do not have the same rights as white people like herself; one of the most powerful scenes for me was when Scout realizes some neighbors she thought were friends of her family, are also apart of the Ku Klux Klan & out to kill the alleged rapist, yet for many wrongful reasons.
Tyson, who also starred in one of my favorite 90’s films, Kindergarten Cop, is excellent in the lead as Atticus. While Atticus’ proof that his client is innocent go awry, he forever keeps his head held high & despite his frustrations, never wants his children to see him weak, nor bitter. I throughly enjoyed Adorney as the awkward Dill; while Dill somewhat comes out of nowhere, he suddenly has a family with The Finch’s & fits right in, proving again what kind-hearted people this family is. When Dill’s dis-illusions come to a head at the court room, as he’s seeing Atticus lose his case when a clearly innocent man is being convicted, Dill comments that he is finally understanding why some people, like Boo Radley, never want to come out the door & live in such a cruel, cold world, I could not have agreed more with Dill myself.
As more twists & turns arise following the court room scenes in Act 2; some tragic, some courageous, we’re truly left reminded why we never, kill a mockingbird.
To Kill a Mockingbird will play at Theatricum Botanicum in repertory through September 27th. Get more info & tickets HERE.
(*Disclosure: I was invited out to see this play on behalf of this review. All opinions, as always, are my own.)