(Alfred Hickling’s review appeared in the Guardian, 2/2.)
A Raisin in the Sun
Royal Exchange, Manchester
Lorraine Hansberry's drama, in which a black family attempts to move into a white neighbourhood of Chicago in the 1950s, takes its title from a Langston Hughes poem that asks: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?" It's a hallowed text in America, where the most recent revival featured Sean "P Diddy" Combs in the central role of Walter Lee.
The first British production following the election of President Obama seems a good moment to reappraise a work whose dreams may be deferred no longer. In many respects, the play is as much a bygone relic as the South Side blues bars whose urban honky-tonk underscores Michael Buffong's brilliantly observed production. Its plot device of a sudden, life-changing inheritance shares similarities with Sean O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock in demonstrating how, for a family hovering just above the poverty line, becoming richer than their wildest dreams can easily become a nightmare.
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