Master Harold…and the Boys (Signature Theatre) OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Richard Termine


Opening Night:
November 7, 2016
December 4, 2016

Theater: The Pershing Square Signature Center/The Irene Diamond Stage / 480 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10019


In a small South African tea shop in 1950, two black men and a white boy joke and dance together, defying the brutalities of apartheid through their joyous love. But festering issues of family, race, and power are not so easy to ignore, and a single phone call can trigger catastrophe. Winner of the Drama Desk and London Evening Standard Awards for Best Play, “Master Harold”... and the boys reveals the profound personal consequences of oppression.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Master Harold…and the Boys (Signature Theatre)

    ‘“Master Harold” … and the Boys,’ a Searing Indictment of Racism

    Charles Isherwood

    November 7, 2016: There is good reason that “‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys” ranks among the South African writer Athol Fugard’s most celebrated and popular plays. As the sterling new production that opened on Monday at the Signature Theater attests, this quiet drama remains a powerful indictment of the apartheid system and the terrible human cost of the racism it codified and legalized. At a time when systemic racism and its roots are once again a subject of national discussion in America, it feels particularly, and sorrowfully, pertinent. The three-character play, here directed with care by Mr. Fugard himself, takes place in 1950, in a modest tea shop in the town of Port Elizabeth. Sam (Leon Addison Brown), in his 40s, works in the shop and wears a waiter’s uniform; his co-worker Willie (Sahr Ngaujah), about Sam’s age, does more of the rough work and is dressed accordingly. They are black; the 17-year-old Hally (Noah Robbins), the son of the tea shop’s owners, is white. He arrives from school on a rainy afternoon and greets Sam and Willie cheerfully.

  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Master Harold…and the Boys (Signature Theatre)

    Theater review: “Master Harold”…and the boys returns Off Broadway

    David Cote

    November 7, 2016: Athol Fugard’s 1982 apartheid drama is a little like Mass for lazy Catholics: Technically speaking, you only have to show up for Eucharist (the blessing of bread and wine) to stay saved. In “Master Harold”…and the boys, that means perking up when teen Afrikaner Harold (Noah Robbins) turns on his friends (and de facto employees) Sam (Leon Addison Brown) and Willie (Sahr Ngaujah), lashing out at them with privileged contempt. For their part, they see a boy they’ve loved for years transform into another racist oppressor. The cause of Harold's devolution is a highly tangled relationship to his disabled, alcoholic dad, and the "boys" function as both surrogate fathers and siblings to the confused kid. The 80-odd minutes that precede this bitter climax is exposition, backstory and windup.



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