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Fences

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#1 mallardo

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 07:21 AM

When Fences was successfully revived on Broadway in 2010 it netted Tony awards for both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. It's the kind of play that allows actors to shine because the characters are so rich and full of life and because they never stop talking.  It's also the kind of play that needs a firm directorial hand because, structurally, it's a bit of a sprawl.

That firm hand is what's missing from this current revival.  Paulette Randall is the kind of director who has characters moving across the stage to take up positions not because it makes dramatic sense but because it gives the illusion of action.  She also seems to lack a clear idea of just who these characters are - especially so in the case of Rose, the long-suffering but enormously strong and resourceful wife.  Where Viola Davis was a force of nature on Broadway, Tanya Moody is a strange fluttering unfocused creature who is never quite in the moment.  

Lenny Henry is fine as Troy Maxon, the angry ex-baseball player turned garbageman, although he lacks the degree of latent violence that Washington had and which the character really needs.  Two supporting actors are superb; Colin McFarlane as Troy's long time friend and Ako Mitchell as his brain-damaged brother.  Mitchell, who I'm used to seeing in musicals (Sister Act, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) is amazing in what is, in many ways, the most challenging role in the play.

Incidentally, when the curtain calls came Lenny Henry took two solo bows!  I don't recall the last time I saw an actor do that in what is essentially an ensemble piece.  You were good, Lenny, but not THAT good.
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#2 Mrs Lovett's Meat Pie

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 08:40 PM

Maybe he was mooning Dawn?

#3 xanderl

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 09:40 PM

Saw this on tour and he did the solo bows then too. Agree it was over the top!

Good play though.
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#4 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:11 AM

Hoping to go in a couple of weeks. Are they doing dayseats for this?



#5 armadillo

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:42 AM

Wouldn't it be the director rather than the cast who arranges the curtain calls?

#6 mallardo

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 10:34 AM

View PostPharaoh, on 29 June 2013 - 09:11 AM, said:

Hoping to go in a couple of weeks. Are they doing dayseats for this?

I don't think so. I got my tickets at TKTS - great seats, seventh row centre.
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#7 Alf

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 12:13 AM

I was very impressed by this last night. Great play, funny and moving and can see why it netted awards. While I would've loved to see Washington and Davis, I was happy with Henry and Moonie, both very good (although it seems wrong that Tanya Moodie has fifth billing considering the size of her role). Two solo bows by Lenny Henry was, as noted above, unnecessary.

Also very impressed by the box office staff. I booked a third price dress circle seat on Last minute a few weeks back, and was upgraded from back row of the circle to third row centre stalls when I collected my ticket, so my thanks to the Duchess's staff! First visit there, and what a lovely little theatre it is.
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#8 xanderl

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 03:47 PM

The New York Times (!) says our Len's solo bows are well deserved

http://www.nytimes.c...lon10.html?_r=0
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#9 mallardo

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:01 PM

Has there been a discussion of Lenny Henry's bows anywhere else but here?  I guess we are "the British press" then.
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#10 xanderl

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 09:18 PM

The Standard covered it. Given the date (1st July) and the phrasing I think you were the source for both the Stamdard and New York Times!

http://www.standard....or-8681560.html
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage





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