EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the October 29, 2015 Baltimore Sun Review of Fences by Tim Smith
In Everyman Theatre's gripping revival of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner, Troy's fiercely held beliefs, fiercely fought battles (and, on paydays, fiercely gripped gin bottles) register with visceral impact.
Likewise, the breadth and insight of Wilson's writing can be felt at every turn; the words leap off the stage and head straight for you, thanks to some dig-deep actors. If you don't have a protective covering for your own emotions, you just might end up like me, frequently moist-eyed, as the performance progresses.
With its mix of the mundane and the weighty, the humorous and painful, "Fences" gives a nod to the past — especially Shakespeare, with the archetype of the fool personified here by Troy's war-damaged brother, Gabriel. Shades of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller pass over the text, too.
But Wilson's stamp is so strong and distinctive that, even when cliches slip in or when things get a little too heavily metaphoric, the play clicks firmly. Its ability to make a visceral connection with audiences is one reason "Fences" achieved classic status.
Clinton Turner Davis guides the Everyman staging with expert timing and nuance. The actors, expertly costumed by David Burdick, seem to inhabit, not just perform on, James Fouchard's wonderful set. (More varied lighting would be welcome.)
As Rose, the wife who has devoted herself to Troy for 18 years, Joy Jones does stellar work. She effortlessly conveys the woman's noble nature, sometimes with nothing more than a glance, a slight stiffening of the shoulder. For all of the hurt she endures, Rose never loses her way, as Jones reveals most affectingly in the second act.
Bryant Bentley gives a terrific performance as the unfortunate Gabriel, conveying every tic, every childish reaction with naturalness and uncommon poignancy. The rest of the cast provides steady support in this highly satisfying production of a great American play.