Guest Post: August Wilson’s, Fences

Theatre Breaks

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Interested in seeing August Wilson’s, Fences? Superbreak’s Marketing Director, Darren Neylon, tells all in his latest London play review…

Lenny Henry and co-star starring in August Wilson's, Fences
Lenny Henry starring in August Wilson’s, Fences

I recently travelled with Superbreak to enjoy one of the early showings of August Wilson’s Fences, featuring Lenny Henry, at the Duchess Theatre. What an amazing show! If you’re curious about whether ‘serious Lenny’ is any good, go and see this show, he was superb. In many ways though, this show is not about Lenny, it’s about superb acting performances by the entire cast, without exception, combined with a powerful script.

The story captures the struggles of black ex-baseball player, Troy Maxson (Henry), in 50s America when racism governed a divided society and restricted opportunities for African-Americans. The programme says that “by looking at Troy’s life, white people find out that the content of this black garbageman’s life is affected by the same things – love, honour, beauty, duty”. The recognition that different people’s lives are affected by the same things and that white and black America would hopefully understand each other better was the aim of the scriptwriter. I found myself relating many aspects of the story to my own childhood and, while walking home in deep reflection after the show, I did not even think about the black versus white element, which is the main point isn’t it. It touched on powerful family issues which apply to us all.

Lenny Henry starring in Fences
“…performances of the entire cast were amazing!”

The performances of the entire cast were amazing, particularly Lenny Henry as Troy, Tanya Moodie as Rose, Colin McFarlane as Jim Bono and Ashley Zhangazha as Cory. If you want to judge how good the performance is, there were disturbed murmurings from the audience when Lenny’s character, Troy, made some guilty admissions in the second half, as though this was somehow a reality show and people could give him his just desserts by making their feelings known – incredible theatre!

It’s not often I find myself reflecting so heavily on a show in the aftermath, but this certainly pressed my buttons. I thoroughly recommend people take a short break with Superbreak to see this wonderful show, it’s a great experience and will certainly touch on your emotional senses. It’s one of the few shows I feel I need to see again to absorb fully – and I just might try to do that!

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