|Photo credit: Carol Rosegg|
The 1989 novel was turned into a popular movie in 1996. But there is a lot you can do on film that you can't do on a stage due to budget and size of cast. Projections are used for some scenes, such as to show a crowd of protestors, but that's just not as scary as it would be to see a mob of KKK members, who threaten Brigance and his family (they are never shown; neither is Hailey's daughter). All of the violence takes place offstage and there is a more humor than necessary, which makes it easy to forget the stakes involved. It's difficult to watch a play that includes description of the rape of a 10-year-old girl and some lightness to relieve the tension is welcome, but at times it plays too much like a comedy.
It is fun to watch Patrick Page chew scenery as the smarmy D.A. And it's nice to see the dependable Thompson in a big Broadway role, but I hope next time to see him star in a play that will stay with you longer than the subway ride home.