13-18 April 2015
Reviewed by Linda Curtain
I was pleased last evening, to have the chance to attend the opening evening of the stage production of Harper Lee’s classic book – To Kill A Mockingbird. The play had previously been recommended to me so I was delighted to be able to see the production for myself.
Attending the Theatre Royal Plymouth for a show is always a delight. Parking is no problem with two car-parks within close vicinity of the theatre – you can even pre-pay to save queuing at the ticket machine after the show.
Arriving early, my friend and I decided to enjoy a coffee in the lovely foyer cafe, where you can absorb the excitement and atmosphere within the theatre. We collected our tickets and programme from the polite, friendly box office staff and made our way into the impressive auditorium.
Seemingly in a minority having never seen the film or read the book, I was eager to see the production and what a wonderful evening it was.
Set in the racially divided American South, the play told the story of lawyer Atticus Finch who struggled to defend a black man accused of the rape of a white woman within their community. The story is told through the eyes of young Scout – Atticus Finch’s daughter.
As the lights dimmed, fourteen cast members came onto the stage reading from various editions of To Kill A Mockingbird – a very engrossing start to the evening as everyone listened intently to their words. Appropriate passages were read from the books throughout the play and the southern music – played by musician Luke Potter – on a ukulele added to the atmosphere.
The first half of the play introduced the various residents within the town. Very simple scenery – with various parts of the town marked out on the black stage with chalk – was quite intriguing and the tree where young Scout could often be seen swinging on an old tyre, added a childlike innocence to the scene.
In the second half, the audience became part of the jury as the court case was acted out. With courage and compassion, Atticus sought to find the truth behind the story but with the degree of racial prejudice within the town, the accused Tom Robinson, knew his fate was already decided.
Daniel Betts made a very dedicated Atticus and Zackary Momoh gave a very sincere and convincing Tom Robinson. What a treat it was to watch the children involved taking on such huge roles with confidence, charm and conviction. Scout – played last evening by Ava Potter – was brilliant and delivered her lines with incredible confidence and passion. She was well supported by Arthur Franks as Jem and Connor Brundish as Dill – an amazing trio of youngsters sure to be seen in future productions.
Overall it was a really enthralling production. Hopefully the long awaited sequel – which is due to be published in July and tells how the relationship between Scout and her father develops – will become a stage production in the future. I will certainly be in the queue for tickets!
Go along to the Theatre Royal Plymouth this week to see a great, thought provoking production.
A good five star rated production.
Tickets cost from £12 to £29.
To Kill A Mockingbird is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth until 18 April 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the book office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222.