To Kill a Mockingbird was at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London until September 13th; Becky went to one of the last few performances:
‘Ever since I first read “To Kill A Mockingbird” at school it has held a place in my heart. Harper Lee’s superbly written book set in 1930s southern back water where Scout Finch and her brother Jem learn about tolerance and acceptance within the heightened racial tensions in their time and place.
I’d never been to the Open Air theatre before. It is built into the side of a hill like an ancient Greek theatre, with the stage sitting at the bottom, there’s no such thing as a bad or low visibility seat. I had the shock of my life when the lady sat beside me stood up and wolf whistled, before another “audience member” stood up and began reading from the novel.
Gradually each of the cast members stood up and narrated from the book whilst the others ran onto the stage along with the actors playing Jem and Scout. As the scene was being set from the novel, the actors revealed various props at the side of the stage and drew a map of Maycomb using chalk on the stage floor.
From that point you were whisked into a world of childhood innocence, racial intolerance, and violence told with humour, dignity, warmth and heart. The Open Air theatre produced a play that reflected these qualities in abundance in a quirky and heart warming production. There wasn’t a single actor, accent, or set I could fault – from beginning to end you were in the deep south, not Regent’s Park. In particular I enjoyed Scout – the narrator in the book – she was pitch perfect with her performance, bringing laughter and tears throughout the play.
Daniel Betts’ as Atticus Finch cannot go without mention. The moral heart of the book/play, Atticus was played with such heart and conviction that a tear or two appeared more than once.
Sadly, this year’s season at Regent’s Park has finished; however, the show is now on tour so you can still catch it up until July of next year.