Lorraine Hansberry, American playwright and activist wrote A Raisin in the Sun in 1959, and was the first black woman to write a play that was performed on Broadway. The play highlights the struggles of black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago and follows the story of the Younger's; a lower middle class family who struggle to gain middle class acceptance.
Living in a cramped apartment with a communal bathroom and where 10-year-old Travis's bed is the sofa, their luck could change as all expectations hang on an insurance cheque of $10,000 from the death of Lena's husband. All dream of a brighter future, but it is Lena herself who buys a house with a yard, three bedrooms and a bathroom. But the area she has chosen is mainly white and the neighbours are not welcoming.
Under Dawn Walton's direction at times the pace does appear to be a little slow but the cast is strong with Ashley Zhangazha as Lena's son. A man who's hastiness leads him into trouble, and a strong performance by Zhangazha alongside Alisha Bailey as his wife Ruth, who is the calm and gentle presence whilst Bethany, played by Susan Wokoma plays the charming and watchable sister who dreams of becoming a doctor. Angela Wynter plays the matriarch of the family Lena, and takes on most of the emotional strain. Her performance towards the end of the show was very moving.
There is nothing showy about this production, it characters are fixed and may seem a little outdated now, but it is a play that has passion and emotion and it is remarkable just on how many levels Hansberry play still works. It is still very relevant in today's society and carries an important voice that will continue to be heard through this very good production.
Cast: Alisha Bailey, Mike Burnside, Solomon Gordon, Angela Wynter, Aron Julius, Everal A Walsh, Susan Wokoma, Ashley Zhangazha.