To Kill a Mockingbird

Scout, Atticus, and Boo Radley come to (generally) satisfying life in this new stage adaptation at Park Square Theatre. At its best, Christopher Sergel's adaptation brings the heart of Harper Lee's novel to the stage. The main problem is that there's a bit too much connective tissue needed to make these moments clear. There is a lot of talk about what has happened, and an adult version of Scout is on hand to basically provide stage directions. At times it feels like just a greatest-hits run through the book—hey, now Atticus is going to shoot the mad dog! Thankfully, there's enough energy to keep the play moving between the slow spots, thanks to Fred Wagner as sage, "ancient" father, and attorney Atticus and Elizabeth McCormick as tomboy Scout. The two—along with brother Jem (Emma Wondra)—feel like a real family, one with troubles but also plenty of affection and love. That comes out best in the first act, when Scout and Jem help Atticus defuse a potential lynch mob from killing his client Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a white woman. Director David Mann smoothes over any rough spots (though maybe a bit more work on the accents—at least making sure they remained consistent through the show—would have helped) and Joel Sass crafts an elegant set that bridges all the locations used in the play and helps bring steamy Depression-era Alabama to life. $36-$56. 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul; 651.291.7005. Through April 17