Love a Good Play: To Kill a Mockingbird

July 2, 2015. Barbican Theatre

I first saw this film as a teenager. It profoundly affected me as I didn’t understand how it could happen. Possibly the only advantage to living in a place like St Helens in the North of England meant that I had never come across racism as everyone was white. My teenage sense of injustice was enormous but it felt very far removed from me, from who I was and from Britain.

How wrong I was… as I continue to explore the globe I come across racism constantly. This play is poignant and unbelieveably relevant today in a world where a white kid can think it’s OK to walk into a church and shoot at and kill many members of a predominently black congregation. That can’t be right in 2015. But it still happens. It’s a sickening and saddening indictment on humanity.

The play is told with a great deal of humanity and warmth. The book is placed firmly at the centre of the adaptation. There is a real reverence to the text and sections of it are narrated throughout the play. It’s lovely. The actors use their real voices so we seem somehow closer to the piece as a Scottish accent and then a Northern twang read Harper Lee’s words. There’s also a warmth in the feeling of being read to. Reminded me of Jackanory but for adults — this is a VERY good thing btw. I loved it.

The whole cast were outstanding — Zackary Mormoh who played Tom Robinson was incredibly touching as the kind and gentle man who had the misfortune to pity a white woman. And the children. Oh my. They were incredible. It’s rare to have such young actors who aren’t over playing it. They were a marvel and I hope to be able to support them as an NT Young Patron in the Future.

And then there is Robert Sean Leonard. #ohcaptainmycaptain. A teenage crush. A wonderful actor who I spied chilling outside the Silk St entrance as I arrived before the show. Grey t-shirt and jeans. Relaxed. An hour later he was linen suited and booted as Atticus Finch. He seemed so at home on that stage, like he owned the part. There was an intense gravitas to his performance that made me love him all over again. #40somethingcrush

6/5 I cried. I applauded. I even gave a standing ovation (a rare thing from me). This play should be recorded as an NT Live and streamed to all schools to share it’s message. I hope it is.

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