BWW Review: FENCES at Mad Cow Theatre
FENCES at Mad Cow gives the audience a snapshot of the life of Troy Maxson, a garbage worker struggling to support his family. The show explores themes such as family, discrimination, death and loyalty.
Johnny Lee Davenport commands the stage as Troy Maxson. He brings this complex character to life with a multi-layered performance that captures the audience.
The set, designed by Robert F. Wolin, gives the audience a look inside the Maxson's modest house with the use of half walls. It allows the audience to look further into the lives of the characters. As Troy and Bono talk on the porch, Rose (Sheryl Carbonell) can be seen cooking. Carbonell's specificity in these moments helps create a sense of authenticity. Jim Braswell plays Troy's brother, Gabriel, who suffers brain damage from serving in World War II. The set allows Braswell to delve deeper into his character's mannerisms, such as the charming way he eats his food.
Relationships stand out in this production. The camaraderie of Troy and Jim Bono (Patric Robinson) is lovely as they joke around and pass the bottle. The fight scenes between Troy and Cory (Stelson Telfort) keep the audience on the edge of their seats with their intensity, as do the emotional scenes between Troy and Rose.
One of the most rewarding parts of the show is the audience's reaction to the material. Throughout the play, many patrons laughed, gasped, and even talked back to the actors. In a world with so much prerecorded content, it's a nice reminder that live theater still has the power to impact audiences.
FENCES at Mad Cow Theatre runs through August 27. For more information, visit madcowtheatre.com.