To Kill a Mockingbird | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

To Kill a Mockingbird 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

To Kill a Mockingbird, CollaborAction Theatre Company, at the Chopin Theatre. Chicagoans who never got around to reading Harper Lee's novel in the city's "book club" initiative can still see this show. More than a civic duty, this is an edifying coming-of-age story for both nine-year-old Scout and the hidebound Alabama town where her idealistic father, Atticus Finch, repudiates bigotry in 1935.

Using Christopher Sergel's faithful adaptation, the 20 ensemble members deliver some impressive storytelling: occasional parts may fail, but the whole remains great. Like Wisdom Bridge Theatre's 1994 staging of Sergel's script, Anthony Moseley's CollaborAction production celebrates down-home decency. Appropriately, the story of a white lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape is seen from the perspective of Atticus's adoring daughter, who recognizes the good in a situation that could have seemed dark: her father's efforts ultimately outweigh the ugly prospect of a black man being put to death for a rape he didn't commit. And when a strange neighbor saves Scout's life, it's further proof that people can improve in Macomb, Alabama.

Deliberate and certain in a crisis and even in defeat, Dan Flannery's Atticus fully convinces us of his moral stature. As the abusive father of the prevaricating victim, Larry Neumann Jr. is a snarling monster, a cracker matched in pathos by Kaitlin Byrd as his deeply damaged daughter. The evolving Alabamians are best represented by Judy Blue as the compassionate narrator and Meredith Maresh as a sparkling Scout. The show has only one drawback: the set is bone ugly, never suggesting a kid's view of a beloved small town. And why are there real finches in Boo Radley's shack?

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lawrence Bommer

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Wet Cash Dark Tower Comics
July 28
Galleries & Museums
FÊTE GALANTE Heaven Gallery
September 18

Popular Stories