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"Master Harold"...and the boys

From 194 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Relevant

About the show

Signature Theatre revives Athol Fugard's Tony-nominated drama about the insidious power of institutional racism. The playwright directs his seminal work. More…

In a small tea shop in South Africa in 1950, two black men and a young 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. '"Master Harold"...and the boys' reveals the profound personal consequences of oppression.

Member Reviews (194)


Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great writing, Relevant
Avg Score

Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intense, Great acting

See it if you want to see a play that hits you like a fist to the gut. Knocks the wind out of you. Scary relevance to who half our nation is today!

Don't see it if you don't like powerful plays that might make you think about who you are or the choices you've made.

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Masterful, Profound

See it if was my first review ever! Loved it great acting, directing and super story. Very poignant and consuming. James Earl Jones was brilliant.

Don't see it if You do not like what the story deals about. Touching at times and is not for everyone.

Absorbing, Great acting, Masterful, Must see

See it if want to see one of the best plays of the season (and much longer) All 3 cast members are superb

Don't see it if you only want to laugh and sing. although one does want to sing with love and understanding.

Also Although. we had seen the same show in 1962 with James Earl Jones and ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Masterful, Relevant

See it if you are a fan of Fugard, enjoy gripping shows with believable characters played by a trio of marvelous actors & still resonate today

Don't see it if are not interested in South Africa's apartheid system and its relevance to our country today, don't like the South African accent

Close to perfect production of show in canon of must-see plays about racism

See it if /4 shattering production impeccably directed by playwright Fugard, personalizing pain of apartheid; fine actors in all roles

Don't see it if /part of message of play - forgiveness possible in face of hateful racism - somewhat dated in our era of heightened response 2 racism

Also Attended talkback which dealt with the "elephant in the room" - meanin... Read more Read less

Slow, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if you don't mind watching three characters reminiscing for most of the show, leaving you wondering what the point of it all is.

Don't see it if you can get a ticket for Sweet Charity in the theatre next door.

Also I'm not sure why this show is getting such great reviews. It did nothi... Read more Read less

Stellar acting, A first-class revival of a contemporary classic, Resonant, Great writing, Thought provoking given what is happening in our society today

See it if you are interested in one of the best plays of the 20th Century. Great trio of actors. Very thought provoking given our recent election.

Don't see it if just see it! It is worth it!!

Well-written and nicely directed., Absorbing and intelligent., Still relevant, but this play stunned when first produced., Parts are very moving and tender., Good performances by two of the three actors.

See it if You've never seen an Athol Fugard play.-some very beautiful moments here. "Harold" lacked nuance, but the other actors were quite good.

Don't see it if Insensitive/uninterested re apartheid,aren't up for tough drama, don't like plays w 1 set, little action, no break. Need to lean in a bit.

Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in the racial divide that was present in South Africa in the early 1950's;parents are not always blood relatives

Don't see it if You are not interested in Fugard plays and find them dated; expect a lot of action onstage; do not like a lot of dialogue

Also This play is from the early 1950's and has been presented many times. ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Great acting, Overrated, Slow

See it if You are a fan of Athol Fugard and true life, hard hitting dramas. This isn't light, or fluffy. But the acting is great.

Don't see it if You don't like your plays slow with the last 15 minutes being full of action. People were falling asleep all around me.

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Intelligent, Ambitious

See it if you enjoy Fugard although not his most consistent it has a powerful 20 minute close.

Don't see it if long build-ups to a meaningful hard hitting ending don't work for you.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Masterful, Profound

See it if you're an Athol Fugard fan and if you admire great drama.

Don't see it if you have any trouble understanding South African dialect.

Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Profound, Masterful

See it if It's moving and much needed in these troubled times. Bring tissues and take it all in. Beautifully done. So moving.

Don't see it if If you want a lighthearted play.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Resonant, Masterful

See it if You want to see a great revival of a classic play directed by the playwright. I've seen the original and first revival and this is superb.

Don't see it if You prefer light,comic plays with little substance.

I had trouble with the accents, Great acting, It starts out at a slow pace but picks up, Relevant

See it if You like plays that are relevant to today's problems.

Don't see it if You prefer humorous plays.

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if You like Fugard. You appreciate smart, historical emotional drama. You follow history of racial discrimination and inequity.

Don't see it if You want to laugh and be entertained at a play. Like fluff and elaborate scenery and costumes.

Great staging, Great writing, Profound, Uneven performances, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a fan of Fugard. You appreciate pieces that are though-provoking and social justice oriented.

Don't see it if You don't enjoy dramas that are relationship based and dialogue heavy.

Also The actors playing the boys are horrific and naturalistic. The actor p... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Intense, Relevant, Thought-provoking

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

Also Master Harold has lost none of its searing, brutal, literally breathta... Read more Read less

Great acting, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant, Resonant

See it if You like plays that deftly address serious social issues, or if you like great acting. Leon Addison Brown as Sam is astoundingly great.

Don't see it if You are not interested in serious plays addressing social problems.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you would enjoy a drama about race relations in South Africa in 1950 -- this one starts slowly and builds to great intensity.

Don't see it if you have trouble understanding South African accents.

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if For a great revival of a deeply moving play set in apartheid South Africa. Coming of age tale that builds slowly to an explosive climax

Don't see it if U are looking for a light tale or don't want to deal with difficult and painful bigotry and hate-filled culture that still rings true today

Masterful, Must see, Relevant

See it if you love great writing and acting. This play just keeps getting better and more relevant (unfortunately).

Don't see it if can't bear the truth of how little things have changed over many decades as far as civil rights are concerned - here, there and everywhere.

Absorbing, Relevant, Resonant, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you want to see a definitive production of a modern classic. A-Z, direction to design to casting, is meticulous and perfect

Don't see it if you're a person who complains about "unlikeable" characters. You don't like plays that take their time unfolding.

Great acting, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if you enjoy serious theater with challenging themes - in this case racism that lies beneath the surface ready to explode at any time.

Don't see it if you go to the theater mainly for escape.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Intelligent

See it if you want to feel the intensity about apartheid and racial injustices that still abound

Don't see it if if you are looking for something entertaining and light

Also The climax was very powerful but, for me, it took too long to get ther... Read more Read less

November 7th, 2016
"As the sterling new production attests, this quiet drama remains a powerful indictment of the apartheid system and the terrible human cost of the racism it codified and legalized...Directed with care by Mr. Fugard himself...The emotional power of the play resides at first in the affection Sam sh...
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November 7th, 2016
"The 80-odd minutes that precede this bitter climax is exposition, backstory and windup. Richly detailed acting and Fugard’s solid direction make the journey there fairly engaging. The grown Robbins is totally convincing as the sweet, priggish but deeply repressed Harold, and Brown and Ngaujah ha...
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November 7th, 2016
"In the last 30 minutes, what has sometimes seemed a bit desultory and kitchen-sinkish, with a lacy overlay of pretty imagery involving kites and quicksteps, becomes gripping and then devastating...At times you might wish for more imaginative direction, or at least a more explicitly charming trea...
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November 7th, 2016
"Directed by the playwright himself, this deeply moving and powerful 1982 play is now receiving an emotionally pitch-perfect revival...The play receives superlative treatment from the ensemble...'Master Harold' requires patience during its lengthy, meandering build-up, before reaching its emotion...
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