Comedian and actor Lenny Henry takes centre stage in this dramatic August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Fences.
Directed with insight by Paulette Randall, the play deals with the tensions and violence within an African-American family in Seventies America.
Theatregoers consider the plight of a black garbage collector, “a person they don’t really look at although they see him everyday” as Wilson explained in an interview given before his early death, at the age of 60 in 2005.
What he did was to show that the content of this black garbageman’s life was the same as anyone else’s. An ex-baseball player, Troy (Henry) is also affected by notions of honour, family duties, marital fidelity and love, which sets Wilson’s hero against the dominant American white culture of the period, a culture still practising apartheid.
As the illiterate Troy, Dudley-born Henry gives one of the finest performances you are likely to see this decade. Sliding through disillusionment with the prejudiced America which bore him, he views his life with blighted insight and takes the stage like a black King Lear.
Troy rages ineffectually as his younger son Cory (Ashley Zhangazha) rebels in a beautifully-played father-son power struggle, moving in its intensity, while his wife Rose ( the excellent Tanya Moodie) refuses to see Troy as a lost cause.
His elder son Lyons (Peter Bankole) in another superbly touching performance as an artful scrounger raises the dramatic game even higher thus providing a wonderful evening.