What’s it all about?
Anyone who doesn’t know Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird should immediately hotfoot to their nearest Waterstone’s and pick up a copy of the Pulitzer Prize-winning depiction of devastating prejudice and heart-warming humanity in the American Deep South. Go on, go now!
For those who haven’t just been bullied to a bookshop, this is the story of a young girl, Scout Finch, and her upbringing in the fictional town of Maycomb where she lives with her brother Jem and father Atticus.
There are two mysteries in Scout’s life. Why does her mysterious neighbour never leave his house? And why is a man who is undoubtedly innocent being accused of a terrible crime?
To Kill A Mockingbird explores these mysteries through the eyes of a spirited young girl who has a lot to learn about the world.
Who’s in it?
Even following in the footsteps of Gregory Peck on screen, it’s impossible to imagine a better Atticus than Robert Sean Leonard. For many – for me certainly – he is the picture of the respectable, kind and intelligent man depicted in the book.
The same can be said for Ava Potter, who captures all the innocence and intrigue of Scout with bundles of energy and an impeccable accent that brings the novel’s tomboy protagonist to life.
There is excellent support from Potter’s fellow young performers – Tommy Rodger and Connor Brundish – as her intrepid accomplices Jem and Dill, and Zackary Momoh and Ryan Pope as a heart-wrenching Tom Robinson and loathsome Bob Ewell respectively.
What should I look out for?
The melancholic guitar music, played by Phil King, that perfectly accompanies this at once heartening and distressing tale.
Jon Bausor’s simple yet innovative set, which sees the town of Maycomb come to life in a chalk drawn map on the Barbican’s stage.
In a nutshell?
Harper Lee’s classic tale has as much power on stage as it did on the page in the return of Timothy Sheader’s glorious production starring Robert Sean Leonard as a magnificent Atticus Finch.
What’s being said on Twitter?
10 years after I read it, To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of the most compelling stories and the performance at the Barbican was stellar.
— Sarvat H. (@septemberists) June 27, 2015
To Kill A Mockingbird at @BarbicanCentre is simply outstanding. Such a good production. The kids were brilliant. So was Robert Sean Leonard
— Ariane Franke (@arifranke) June 30, 2015
Will I like it?
Injustice may be more prominent in To Kill A Mockingbird’s storyline, but justice is well and truly done when it comes to translating Harper Lee’s incredible story for the stage. Visually (and audibly) striking with its clever dual use of actors as character and narrators, Timothy Sheader’s take on the classic allows you to relive the enjoyment of reading the book with its equal amounts of joy, suspense and heartbreak.
To Kill A Mockingbird is playing at the Barbican Theatre until 25 July. You can book tickets through us.