The adaptation of one of the most treasured novels and films in American history did not disappoint. The show has not played to an empty seat and has proved to be one of the most successful American plays in Broadway history. And now Mockingbird is set to premiere at the West End's Gielgud Theatre in March 2022, having been postponed from 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rafe Spall (Black Mirror, Death of England) will be stepping into the balanced boots of Atticus Finch when the production premieres, with further casting yet to be announced. Bartlett Sher, resident director at the Lincoln Center Theater in New York, directed the Broadway production and will take the reins again for the West End run.
To Kill A Mockingbird, Gielgud Theatre
Multi-award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) was charged with the responsibility of adapting it for the stage. Refusing to be resigned to the shadow of Harper Lee's masterpiece, Sorkin grappled with the original text to produce a version that would be relevant today. His efforts met great critical acclaim, with The New York Times hailing his work as 'a Mockingbird for our moment.'
For fans of the novel and film, do not expect a straightforward re-hash of the original works. The story centres around the lawyer Atticus Finch defending an innocent African-American man from fabricated charges. But the Atticus in Sorkin's script will deviate from the idealised figure of a noble, righteous saviour coming to the rescue of an oppressed black victim. Sorkin aimed to create a more human, more flawed hero and to give more confidence and agency to the African-American characters in the story.
A significant obstacle to adapting the story for the stage was the slow pace of the novel and film. Both works offer a deep examination of the open wounds of poverty and racism in American society. But Sorkin's adaptation has a more dynamic structure, the story framed more like a gripping courtroom drama. Expect fewer slow passages about children playing in a tired rural town in Alabama, and more rousing speeches before the judge and jury about injustice and inequality.
To Kill a Mockingbird opens on 10 March 2022. Culture Whisper readers can access an exclusive pre-sale from 7 April 2021, with general onsale following on 9 April. Click here to book.
|What||To Kill A Mockingbird, Gielgud Theatre|
|Where||Gielgud Theatre, 35 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6AR | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
10 Mar 22 – 01 Oct 22, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£25 - 100+|
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|