Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fabulous Fences at the Rep

Weisenheimer has been accused on a number of occasions in recent months of being too nice, at least when it comes to theater reviews. It happened again last weekend when I did a one-word Facebook review of Seattle Rep's production of Fences. The word was "incredible." Folks were shocked--shocked!--to hear me gushing about a play. After several days of additional pondering of it, I'd like to amend my review to: "Effin' incredible." Bring on the critics.

I am not alone in my assessment of this production of the August Wilson play directed by Timothy Bond. Misha Berson raved in the Times (Fences hits it out of the park), Steve Clare of Examiner.com said it hits a home run, Michael Strangeways of Seattle Gay Scene called it beautiful and masterful, Jay Irwin of Broadway World wrote it is a perfect game, and Seth Kolloen of The Sun Break calls it "the best play I have ever seen."

James A. Williams as Troy Maxson
in the Seattle Rep production of
August Wilson's
Fences. Photo by
Chris Bennion.
I won't go quite that far, but this Fences is right up near the top. The casting was perfect, the performances were spot-on, and it's a great script full of drama and humor. While all of the cast were fantastic, it was James A. Williams at the center as Troy Maxson, former baseball star and now garbage truck driver, who dominates the play as he dominates his stage family. What a grand performance: angry, vulnerable, drunk, alone, and burdened with responsibility. Two scenes especially crackled. In the first, Troy's son Cory (Stephen Tyrone Williams) asks his dad why he doesn't like him. As Troy explains it isn't his job to like Cory, he has an obligation, the hate damn near ignites the stage. In the second, Troy has broken the news to his wife Rose (Kim Staunton) that he's having an affair and has a kid on the way. Sparks fly during their discussion of the situation.

William Hall, Jr., José Rufino, Craig Alan Edwards, and Shiann Rush also were marvelous. Hall was memorable in another Wilson play, Gem of the Ocean, at the Rep a few years ago, and Rufino has been seen in a couple of shows at Seattle Shakespeare Company of late.

We saw Fences on its last weekend, and the run has ended. If you missed it, I think they're taking the production back to Syracuse. You should consider going. It's a great show.

1 comment:

michael strangeways said...

awww....I love it when people quote me!