Friday 16 August 2013

Fences, Duchess Theatre

Yesterday lunchtime I made my way up to the Duchess Theatre to see August Wilson’s play Fences. Written in 1983 but set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Fences’ plot revolves around central character Troy Maxson, played superbly by Lenny Henry. Although humorous at times, allowing Henry to take on his more natural comedic persona, the play tells the real and bitter story of a struggling family, and having not seen him act before I was very impressed at how easily he adapted in the more serious scenes.

A failed baseball player in his youth, Troy Maxson is now in his mid-fifties and a rubbish collector, trying his best to improve his career, support his family, and guide his two sons to better themselves. But when his youngest, Cory, wants to follow in his footsteps and become a famous sportsman, Troy’s roles as a father, husband, brother and friend are all tested. Learning more about his past and the secrets of his present as the play progresses, will any of the Maxson family be able to lead a happy future?

All of the seven actors in the production gave incredible performances, and the only let down for me were the theatrical traits (monologues, explanatory dialogue and Henry’s one very small line slip-up) that reminded me I was sitting in a theatre watching a play with a script. Fences definitely deserves all the stars it has been given. On until 14th September.

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