Friday, 12 August 2022

To Kill A Mockingbird

 
I met Nu in a cocktail bar on Frith Street (she had picked it as it was air conditioned) we then went along to Suvvlaki the best Greek restaurant in soho where we ate Greek tapas to die for , sat at an open window facing the street and watched the world go by.
I still felt as though was on holiday
We walked into Chinatown where we ate obscene ice creams at bubble wrap waffle before the theatre
Bliss



Most of us of a certain age have grown up with the goodness that is Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mocking Bird, 
His quote 
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

is one that follows a person through life, even though he was a fictitious lawyer in a non existent Southern town.

To Kill A Mocking Bird was not without its faults and I wondered how these would be addressed to a modern audience, most of whom loved the book as a child and saw it through a child’s eyes.
Aaron Sorkin’s production is a bold interpretation with the famous court scene divided into segments sandwiched in between the growing up stories of Scout and Jem Finch and their best friend Dil in rural Alabama.

Rafe Spall is no Gregory Peck in the lead role as Atticus. He isn’t polished and serene, and hasn’t that quiet heroic look.But his small town lawyer, is gentle, and humorous and brittle enough to still cry at the mention of his wife’s death. He is more flawed that his screen counterpart, but still retains those decent qualities most loved by Harper Lee’s fans.



The three children of the story are all played by young adults, and this works well thanks  primarily to the actors playing Scout and Dill. Gwyneth Keyworth is exceptional as Scout, ad-libbing with the audience in her broad Southern drawl when they were late in settling down and David Moost, who gives Dill an odd sense of a young, very camp Truman Capote ( he was Harper Lee’s Best friend) 

In the novel the housekeeper come nanny, Calpurnia didnt quite have a proper voice when the unfairness of racism was raised but Sorkin’s Calpurnia is not adverse in challenging even Atticus in his beliefs and behaviour and in one pivitol scene screams out what she thinks of the all white Jury who are sitting in judgement of Robinson ( a wonderful Jude Owusu)
The actress Pamela Nomvete turning from hired help to a roaring lioness impressively.



The new play has a great deal to say about the America, that still exists , most noticeably seen in the Trump years. Those disaffected and mistrusting of intellectual contact.

To kill A Mockingbird was a triumph , and a real rollercoaster of a play to experience.
It is one which will linger in the mind for a long while to come 



47 comments:

  1. I expect you are home again bynow. Relax in that lovely garden of yours with the girls and prepare them for Roger's arrival.

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  2. That was definitely worth making the trip to see

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    1. It was my 59 th birthday gift from Nu, she booked it early

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  3. I love the book and the original film so much that I can't imagine enjoying any other version or interpretation of it! Gregory Peck will ALWAYS be Atticus to me!

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  4. Traveller11:04 am

    I think you could write reviews professionally.

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  5. Great evening out, there is so much to learn from our past, and many fail to listen

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    1. It’s interesting but revisiting Atticus ‘
      Belief system s now almost make him complicit

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  6. "I met Nu in a cocktail bar on Frith Street" sounds like a great opening for a song,

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  7. I last read Mockingbird about 15 years ago when my daughter was studying it for GCSE. Trying to fill Gregory Peck's shoes is a big ask - he IS Atticus Finch. xx

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    1. I get this , the trouble with the cinema is that faces and feelings can be studied infinitely more carefully in a film than a play , hence the differences

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  8. There was talk of a remake of the film with Tom Hanks (?) playing Atticus, but as others have said, Gregory Peck IS Atticus. Why remake it? Glad you enjoyed your day in London. x

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  9. Glad you had such a marvelous time, John. How lucky you were to see that play!

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    1. Yes, it was a real and proper treat x

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  10. Was it the sequel to "To Kill A Hospice Nurse" by Joyce Trellis?

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  11. You and Nu are guaranteed to enjoy yourselves and this trip was no exception. All part of your B-day celebration(s)... party on!

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  12. Barbara Anne2:27 pm

    What a marvelous evening with Nu (no better companion!) and no hurry back to work. Bliss upon bliss.
    Oh, yes, Gregory Peck.

    Hugs!

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    1. There was something incredibly sexy about Gregory peck……the voice

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  13. Anonymous4:18 pm

    I really like how you write, John.. can just imagine being there, the sights, the sounds, the smells. In fact, want to go to London now! Glad you had a great time with Nu. Louise X

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    1. Thank you louise that was kind of you

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  14. Interesting. I'm glad to read this review. I wonder how much of this production is a reflection of Harper Lee's "Go Tell a Watchman," an early version of "To Kill a Mockingbird" that was published just a few years ago. Apparently it depicts Atticus as a more flawed and less noble character.

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    1. Yes Steve, I like many refused to read the sequel but the stage version ended with scout feeling more disillusioned than I remember she was

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  15. It is interesting to see our history, not the most impressive parts, viewed from another country. We are learning America is a very tarnished country. These days when I say I am an American it isn't with a sense of pride it is a matter of fact. :(

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    1. I loved the way Atticus described how racism still grew in the Deep South, because of a history of feeling indignity and loss of face

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  16. Been ages since I've read the book

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  17. Anonymous1:15 am

    I have lived all my life in Alabama and have felt quite alone in my beliefs which is painful. I get great pleasure in traveling to other states and countries and reading blogs for a refreshing perspective on life.

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    1. How do you feel about To kill a mockingbird linda

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    2. I think it is a treasure that tells as it was no holds barred and sadly in some ways still is.

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  18. Anonymous1:15 am

    Linda from Alabama

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  19. I loved both the book and the Peck film. I'm sure I'd love the new play too.

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  20. I read the book the first time in my early sixties after I had watched the film just out of boredom on a rainy afternoon. Because of the really stupid German title I had always thought it was a soppy love story. Now I have read it with two book clubs and given it as a gift a few times and it is one of my favourite books.
    Hilde in Germany
    Hilde in Germany

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    1. I think it is often voted as my fav read

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  21. Anonymous9:42 am

    There seems a general agreement John that you should think about writing seriously when you finally do retire. You have plenty of material to draw on. Delphine

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  22. I do need to re-read that book. I loved it as a youngster, although I'm quite sure I didn't truly understand it. I've yet to see the movie or even a play.

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  23. Enjoyed reading your review of the play. I moved to the south in the '50s, lived there for a few years -- what a culture shock for this schoolgirl. Learned in recent years a high school classmate had been in a gang; his father in KKK that I had never known. Son saw the light in h.s.; became a minister; very active in '60s civil rights and today with immigrants. Years later I read "Mockingbird" and since read the sequel which I recommend others do. Friends still in that southern state with liberated thought from the indoctrination they had growing up were shocked years later with those they knew there who revealed unexpected negative attitudes still, when Obama was elected our President. Then, with the advent of our most recent ex-Pres. the worms came out of the woodwork with which we now cope if our democracy to survive.

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