Gregory Peck would be proud of Atticus, Scout, and the rest of the cast in Little Theatre of Alexandria’s recent production of To Kill a Mockingbird. This classic tale never gets old, and is very timely considering the recent passing of author Harper Lee. And the struggle between black and white, while tempered, still exists in modern society, and there are lessons to be learned in this timeless piece.
Producers Rachel Alberts, Bobbie Herbst and Robert Kraus have nailed it, not an easy feat with those who still fondly remember the black and white film. The two scenes – Finch’s street in Maycomb, Alabama to the courthouse where the trial is held – benefit from terrific staging.
Atticus’s daughter, Jean Louise Finch, nicknamed Scout, is played by two actresses who turn in winning performances. Olivia McMahon portrays the young Scout who lived through what transpired in 1935 when Atticus defended a black man who was tried for raping a white woman. The adult Jean Louise, played by Melissa Dunlap, takes on the role of narrator.
Richard Fiske (Atticus) and Olivia McMahon (Scout)
Finch, played by Richard Fiske, describes himself as a ‘recovering attorney,’ although one with much yet to prove. Whether at home with Scout and Jem, or in the courtroom, Fiske’s Finch is believable, a loving father and a skilled lawyer.
Horace Gilmer (Cal Whitehorse), is a worthy adversary for Atticus. As Judge Taylor, Tony Gilbert rules over his courtroom, keeping everybody in check, especially Bob Ewell (Paul Donahoe), a loose cannon as a witness.
Brenda Parker (Calpurnia), Olivia McMahon (Scout), and Frank Riley III (Rev. Sykes)
The younger actors, McMahon, Jack Kearney (Jem Finch) and Nathaniel Burkhead (Dill), exhibit impressive onstage presence. Brenda Parker, who plays Calpurnia, the Finch’s housekeeper, is tasked with keeping the children in line and does it with love and humor.
The cast numbers more than 30 actors giving a touch of realism to the scenes where the courtroom’s seats would be filled with townspeople caught up in a case that both captivated and polarized a community.
Photos by Matt Liptak
Opening: Courtroom scene with cast.
To Kill a Mockingbird runs through May 14, 2016 at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For more information, visit www.littletheatre.com or call the Box Office at 703-683-0496.