I was reminded of the trials and tribulations of turning a well beloved novel into a play by the brouhaha that followed the recent adaption into a successful Broadway play of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

In June 2020 this production will transfer to London and it is already almost fully booked. It would appear Aaron Sorkin, creator of the ‘West Wing’ and ’A Few Good Men’, has done a good job in making the transfer from book to play.

Does this happen every time one of the books we treasure becomes a play? I am sure we all have a favourite novel and, in our minds, have created an image of the characters and the locations, not always reflected on the stage.

Adaptions of George Orwell’s ‘1984’ have not always received critical acclaim since we are all sensitive to the political implications described in the novel and the ongoing pressures on the characters. We have our own views of what was predicted by Orwell and may have seen this turn into reality in our own lives.

The Talented Mr Ripley Northern Stage

Some of those that might be viewed as successful are Ian Fleming’s ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, Mark Haddon’s ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time ‘and ’Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’.

Soon you will be able to have your own views on the subject by comparing adaptions of books into plays which are being performed locally, including Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ at Northern Stage.

I could have listed many more and you, Reader, will have your own views to share. In the next week or so you will be able to see and borrow from the Library other books I could have mentioned and we would welcome your suggestions on what to include.

Paul Taylor-An Infrequent Contributor

Current West End play-book adaptations