See it if You're up for a fine example of what theatre does best. A moving, transporting, absolutely truthful study of the human costs of racism. Don’t see it if You expect a fluffy evening or don't want to feel, think or be moved by issues & truths that continue to affect us even here, especially now.
Master Harold has lost none of its searing, brutal, literally breathtaking dramatic punch or lyricism since its 1982 NY debut, and though this production, directed by its playwright Athol Fugard, seems to take its time getting there, it’s well worth the journey. A subtle and amazingly well-crafted script that quietly draws in its audience to reveal the corrosive and ugly realities of apartheid and racism, the action in Master Harold is deceptive, mainly the talk and memories of its characters. A rainy afternoon in 1950, a tea shop somewhere in South Africa — or anywhere, really, anytime; two black waiters setting up tables and practicing for the local ballroom dance contest; the owners’ son, a young teen they’ve watched grow up; and a telephone — what range and worlds are spun from these simple elements. Noah Robbins is energetic and sharp as the callow Master Harold, visibly turning ashen at play’s end as the reality of what he's done sets in; Sahr Ngaujah is warm, spirited and funny as Willie, the porter who aspires to dance; and Leon Addison Brown just amazes as the older Sam, in a deeply moving, touching performance that resonated in the air long after the ovations. An especially timely play with strong and memorable performances, Master Harold should be seen and discussed at length by as wide an audience as possible. In these days of Black Lives Matter, it’s good to remember that when some lives are treated as less than others, all lives suffer.