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To Kill a Mockingbird
a Drama w/ Comedy & Music
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Harper Lee

COMPANY : Blackwell Playhouse
VENUE : Blackwell Playhouse
ID# 2440

SHOWING : September 07, 2007 - October 06, 2007

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Boo! Radley, that is. The Blackwell Playhouse stages the Harper Lee classic.


CAST & CREW LIST
Founding Artistic Director John Christian
Director John Christian
Assistant Director Beth DiYenno
Mrs. Dubose Michelle Baratta
Mr. Cunningham G. Oliver Britt
Tom Robinson Lou Brock
Bob Ewell James Calhoun
Mayella Ewell Becky Dever
Maudie Atkinson Beth DiYenno
Dill Haden Farr
Stephanie Crawford Traci Foreman
Scout Ashley N Foreman
Jem Carson Mistr
Tom Robinson Bernard Moore
Judge Taylor Glenn Nadel
Mr. Horace Gilmer James Northway
Heck Tate Steve Raper
Calpurnia Kelly Reid
Sister Sykes Gloria Stanley
Atticus Finch Kevin Tillery
Scout Kara Leeann Tillery
Arthur "Boo" Radley Cody Wilson
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]

Overall Great Cast!
by New2Atl
Monday, October 1, 2007
4.0
First let me start by saying that I am new to the Atlanta area and Iím very excited about the theater circuit here. There are so many theater options in the area but since it is close to my home, I choose to take in a show at the Blackwell Playhouse this weekend. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite novels ever and I was able to squeeze in a closing night performance. This play is a big undertaking for any theater and you never really know what youíre going to get when you see it performed live in community theater. Let me say that I was pleasantly surprised Saturday night.

Most theaters choose to put on a version of the play that has Scout as a grown woman handling a good deal of the narration. I suspect this is because they want to limit the roles of Scout, Jem and Dill and leave most of the heavy lifting to the adult actors. Blackwell surprised me and chose to let the kids pull their own weight. What a great decision on Director John Christianís part! I just wonder if he made this decision before or after casting the kids????

Ashley Foreman as Scout was incredible. Everything about her embodied the spirit of Jean Louise Finch. All the characteristics of Scout were present at the proper times; innocence, humor, curiosity and downright outrage. This kid had it all. She even looked like the Scout from my imagination with those disheveled pig tales.

The boys who portrayed Jem and Dill were good also. Jem had good expression and emotion but needed to project his lines a bit more. I suspect audience members in the back of the theater had a hard time hearing some of his best delivered lines. Dill was cute and definitely looked the part in his loafers and suspenders. He was somewhat monotone with most of his dialogue but I wonder if that was the direction he was given since Dill is the nerdiest of the children.

As you can tell, I was quite impressed with these kids. However, the rest of the cast was excellent as well. Actors who tackle Atticus Finch always amaze me. How do you follow Gregory Peck? Kevin Tillery did a pretty good job. He looked the part and delivered his lines well. I did notice a few times when he called characters the wrong names, but with so many lines, I guess you canít expect perfection.

Bob and Mayella Ewell were excellent as the characters you love to hate. Mr. Gilmer did a fine job of badgering poor Tom Robinson to the point of causing the audience to dislike him as well. Lou Brock as Tom Robinson delivered a fabulous performance on the witness stand. He wiped his eye one time and I wondered if he was actually forced to tears. I couldnít tell from my seat but I could feel the emotion. Another Blackwell surprise was casting a woman to play Reverend Sykes. It was definitely a departure from the original but it really worked. I loved the passionate singing delivered by ďSisterĒ Sykes.

Overall, the entire cast was strong. Even the interaction provided by Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie in between scenes was strong. I especially liked the way Miss Maudie mocked busy body Miss Stephanie behind her back while they were talking with Scout about Boo Radley. Reading through the playbill, I noticed that this was Miss Stephanieís first acting experience. That is hard to believe unless sheís a busy body in real life. She nailed the character.

Donít get me wrong though, this production wasnít perfect. It could have definitely used some help with the lighting. Areas of the stage were very poorly lighted, including the balcony where the kids delivered lines during the trial. Also, the lights seemed to go up and down mid-scene. Additionally, some of the scene transitions were very awkward and I couldnít help but wonder what happened to Mr. Gilmerís closing arguments. Atticus got to recap his case but the prosecution was just skipped over. It felt a bit amateurish. Another distraction for me was all the unplanned noise. It appeared that several props fell over or were dropped unexpectedly but the cast did a good job of covering the mishaps. Also, toward the end of the show, Iíd swear I heard the cast talking backstage.

Overall, Iíd give this production a B+. It was a Saturday night well spent.

At the end of the show, the Director asked the audience to tell 10 people about the theater. Since Iím new to town and donít know 10 people yet, this review is my way of promoting Blackwell. Itís an ambitious little community theater. Give it a try.
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It wasn't the best but wasn't the worst.
by theaterislife
Monday, October 1, 2007
3.0
I decided to go see To Kill a Mockingbird this weekend at Blackwell Playhouse. I will say (as I have previously) I really hope they get their seats repaired. I think that's one of my biggest pet peeves about this place. On a plus side it looks like the lobby gets better and better each time I go. The ladies bathroom certainly looks better than it has in my past visits.

Anyways, enough about that, let's talk about the show itself. The lighting for this show was not good and took away from the performance. It was dull and yellow maybe that's the effect that the director was going for but it didn't work for me. The set was decent and worked very well for this show. The treehouse and tireswing were nice touches, though I was scared "Scout" would fall off the tireswing at times. As for the talent, there were quite a few standouts in this cast. Kevin Tillery portrayed Atticus Finch to perfection. He bought such a conviction to that character and made me really believe him in that role. All of the kids were wonderful. The only complaint I have about them was that during the courthouse scene there was too much noise going on in the "balcony" and they kept distracting me (especially the boys), dropping things, whispering to each other, laughing etc. As far as acting, they were extremely talented especially Miss Ashley who played Scout for the performance I attended. She had such a charismatic quality that she brought to the stage. There were others that stood out as well. I did not like the portrayal of Miss Maudie. I didn't like her stage movement (could be direction) but she just kept walking back and forth across stage from one pool of light to the other. She did not seem "at home" on stage and frankly I could have done without her. Her delivery was boring and I lost much of what she said. I have no doubt she could be a good actress but she did not fit this role. Also I can't understand why they put her in such an ugly wig.....Ok enough about that. For the most part the actors were very strong in this show and I think they did this work justice. I found myself wanting more, maybe it was just the lighting.

And another thing... you know I have my pet peeves, during the first scene when Scout climbed into the treehouse the covering over it fell. In the middle of the next scene one of the cast members came out, picked it up and moved the tire swing. My problem, he was in costume which consisted of jeans and a red and white checkered shirt. That totally took me out of the scene as I was watching him asking myself why did they do that.

Ok so why the 3.0?? The lighting was not good and the character of Miss Maudie wasn't right. However the strength of the cast as a whole is why it didn't get a 2.5.

I think Blackwell Playhouse is getting better. Just put a little more elbow grease in everything and they'll come out just fine. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Great Moments do not make a whole show
by Jay Sherman
Monday, September 10, 2007
2.5
There are many good things about director, John Christian's-To Kill A Mockingbird.
Let's start with those. First, Most of the ensemble were quite talented and made their roles believable. Kevin Tillery as Atticus Finch was superb and very realistic in the role. There are parts he could have been a bit more tender in, but he did a fine job. Kara Tillery (either his real life daughter, or an amazing coincidence?)Was the best of the three children. The other two were good, when focused. She brought a sincerity to the role not often seen in child actors. Both the folks playing Ewells were stand outs as well. The Tom Robinson did a superb job of not over playing a role that too often is. The mob scene in front of the jail was inventive, and I give kudos to the show for it. Where the show breaks down, is that it lacks being consistent. One great scene followed by horrific narration by Miss Maudie, followed by scene changes that make no sense, followed by dimly lit and hard to see scenes. So I rate this smack Dab in the middle. 2.5 is a solid C. If they can pick up the pace and correct a couple of things it could easily be a 4. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
question by ragingsilver
Was the Miss Maudie naration badly done, or just badly written?
Not very well done by Jay Sherman
She had a good accent but was very stoic, and very unnatral. This may have been just poor or lack of direction and not the actresses fault at all. Maybe the director focused his efforts on Atticus & Scout. There it paid off. But you can't scarafice your other actors.


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