Renee A’s To Kill a Mockingbird Review

Photo by Chris Bennion

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of seeing To Kill a Mockingbird at the charming Intiman Theater. The play, adapted by Christopher Sergel, was based on the famous book by Harper Lee. This eye opening play was directed by Fracaswell Hyman and incorporates a set (designed by Alec Hammond) that helps send your mind into the sleepy southern town where the story takes place. The basic theme of “don’t judge a person till you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” is universal helping to bring in a diverse audience.

To Kill a Mockingbird is set in a small, Southern town called Maycomb. The drowsy town at times doesn’t seem big enough for the narrator Scout Finch (played by Keaton Whittaker) and her brother Jem’s (Nick Robinson) constant antics. Their father Atticus (David Bishins) is a prominent lawyer who is suddenly facing consternation from the town when he agrees to defend Tom Robinson (Sean Phillips), a black man, in court. Tom has been wrongly convicted of raping a white woman and his odds of gaining a “not guilty” from the jury are slim.

Technically speaking this play was very well done, especially in the area of sound. The play starts off with a slow, simple harmonica song that was the perfect touch to help ease my mind into the era and mindset of the time. Not long after the show began Calpurnia (Josephine Howell), the Finches’ black cook, breaks out into a beautiful gospel song (19th century hymn “Blessed Assurance") which only improves as she is joined by Reverend Sykes and Miss Maudie Atkinson. All three actors had beautiful voices and my only complaint is that there wasn’t more singing done by the trio! As in the opening of the show, harmonica music was used as the transition between scenes and I felt it was the perfect accompaniment. The other area that truly stood out to me was the set. I don’t know how Alec Hammond managed to fit three houses and a large tree onto one stage! There seemed to be several symbols included in the set, which I enjoyed attempting to decipher, such as chairs painted red hanging over the audience and the tree which was partially a deep crimson. As I found out later (mentioned in the program), the hanging chairs represented “the unseen citizens of the town.” I felt it was fabulous that the set evoked so many thoughts and questions in my mind, even before the show had begun!

It has been a while since I have seen such a perfectly cast show. From the leads to the smallest part each actor had their character down to pat. One person who I feel did especially well was Liz Morton (Mayella Ewell) who played her part of an abused, lonely girl so convincingly, I was torn between feeling sorry for her and hating her for falsely accusing Tom of raping her. Russel Hodgkinson who played Bob Ewell performed his character so well that I was gripping the chair sending beams of hate towards him. It also appears that we are nurturing some considerably talented children here in Seattle. Keaton Whittaker (Scout), Nick Robinson (Jem), and my personal favorite Lino Marioni (Dill) all gave great performances in as the three child leads in the show. Not to be left out was is the actor who pulled the whole show together, David Bishins, who in the role of Atticus blew my mind away. Watching Bishins (as Atticus) attempt to fight segregation and the closed minds’ of the people in the town was, to say in the least, inspirational. I just want to acknowledge the entire cast of To Kill a Mockingbird for their dynamic performance and the way that they all work so hard together to bring about the essence of a town. There was not a person in the show who should not have been there. Thank you for sharing your talent.

As a whole I enjoyed my trip to Intiman rather a lot. The venue is beautiful and I love the atmosphere they have created in the lobby. Five stars to anyone who helped with the lobby display! It was lovely and there was so much fun and useful information that I loved reading. Additionally, thank you to the staff at Intiman, as I felt very welcomed. Now down to the nitty gritty, would I recommend this play? Well the answer is YES! This show definitely has the “it” factor and the beautiful themes it leaves in your mind are irreplaceable. So go see To Kill a Mockingbird at Intiman theater, and soon!

Renee A., 16

To Kill a Mockingbird
September 19 – November 3

More info and show times:
INTIMAN’s Ticket Office: 206-269-1900
Ticket Office Hours: Tuesday – Sunday Noon – show time

Note: This extremely popular production is expected to sell out many performances. You are strongly encouraged to call the box office before going to theatre to ask whether or not they expect to have Teen Tix tickets available for the show that you wish to attend.

INTIMAN Theatre is located at 201 Mercer Street on the Seattle Center campus. It is served by buses 1,2,3,4,13,15,16,18,45, 74 and 85 and others. For bus times:
Corrections: In the original version of this review, Walayn Sharples was mistakenly credited as playing the role of Tom Robinson. This role is actually played by Sean Phillips. Walayn Sharples plays the role of Mrs. Dubose. Also, in the original version of this review, Russell Hodgkinson's name was misspelled. Teen Tix regrets these errors.

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