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To Kill a Mockingbird

A good man is easy to find in Harper Lee's moralistic novel adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel. This production captures nicely the magic of the coming-of-age journey of Scout (Zoe Rae Calamar), a feisty tomboy longing to understand why her aloof, over-the-hill father, Atticus Finch (an effectively chilly Greg Martin), doesn't play football or shoot guns like other dads. Atticus has traded sporting for lawyering, and he's defending accused rapist Tom Robinson (a chillingly childlike Montelle Harvey), a black man whose guilt is assured by the setting: 1935 Alabama. As Scout begins to glimpse her father's greatness, she also recognizes the demonizing gossip about her shut-in neighbor, Boo Radley (Scott Wordham), as dehumanizing bunk. Director Gary Lee Reed, who also designed the lovely set, keeps the essential tug-of-war between Scout and Atticus at the forefront of the drama, while carefully crafting the courtroom scene as a painfully unwinnable plea for justice that results in a naivetÄ-shattering growth spurt for Scout. Actor David Atkinson is sometimes a scene stealer as the wonderfully greasy lawyer lazily lying his way through a slam-dunk conviction of Tom. Tannis Hanson likewise transfixes as an anxiety-ridden Mayella Ewell, the abused white teenager who is Tom's accuser. Actors Co-op at the Crossley Terrace Theatre, 1760 N. Gower St., Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m.; through Nov. 20. (323) 462-8460, actorsco-op.org.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 12, 2:30 p.m.; Sat., Nov. 19, 2:30 p.m. Starts: Oct. 14. Continues through Nov. 20, 2011

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