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April 17, 2014

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Review: Powerful performances make ‘Fences’ a grand slam

You have one last chance to catch a real jewel.

Do yourself a favor tonight and check out the Ira Aldridge Theater Company’s production of “Fences.”

You’ll see some great performances in August Wilson’s powerful play.

Anthony Brady inhabits Troy Maxson, one of the great characters of the American stage. He breathes life into Wilson’s words. You watch him twist and turn as the flawed garbage man struggles with responsibility, family, changing society and death.

Brady commands the stage down with booming voice and little nuances. He’s so good it’s hard to imagine that James Earl Jones, who won a Tony for this role, was any better when he created the character on Broadway in 1987.

Rochelle Hooks easily covers a range of emotions as Rose, Troy’s wife. She’s at her best when she's almost frothing at the mouth with rage at Troy’s infidelity.

Rick Davenport delights as Gabriel, Troy’s brother who is befuddled by a war injury.

Earl Grant Harrison, Hasani Palacio, Isaiah Lucas and Kierra Baltimore fill out the cast.

Director Walter Mason deserves high praise for putting together this moving production.

The only thing missing was a full house at Thursday’s gala opening.

It’s hard to blame the elegant crowd who were worn down by lengthy awards ceremony for the new Hands Across the Arts program, which honored Mason for a lifetime in the arts. Many left at intermission. It was their loss for missing a powerful evening of theater.

By play’s end, the crowd had dwindled to about two dozen. (Props to Clint Holmes, who was there to honor Mason, for staying around to the end. He’s one performer who obviously gets it.)

Tonight it’s just the play, so you’ll only have yourself to blame if you miss this wonderful evening of theater.

Details: August Wilson’s “Fences”; 7:30 tonight; Nicholas J. Horn Theatre, College of Southern Nevada’s Cheyenne Campus, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., North Las Vegas; $20 for students and seniors, $30 for adults; 651-5483

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