REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Mlima's Tale” Opened with a ShowScore of 77

Show-Score | Apr 16, 2018
“Mlima's Tale,” written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Jo Bonney, opened on April 15, 2018 in New York City. “Mlima's Tale,” written by Lynn Nottage and directed by Jo Bonney, opened on April 15, 2018 in New York City.


12 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 75.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 85
"Nottage’s beautiful, endlessly echoing portrait of a murder and its afterlife...Nottage and her director have shaped this story with such theatrical inventiveness and discipline that it never feels sensational, on the one hand, or pious, on the other...She packs a wealth of cultural, political, and economic detail into each scene...Yet the facts, figures, and folklore never feel jimmied in; the exchange of information among the characters is fluid and always appropriate to the circumstances."
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 85
"Nottage's unrelenting machine of a play...Audiences won't soon forget the anguished wail of its title character...In many ways, 'Mlima's Tale' is a sharper critique of capitalism than Nottage's last play, 'Sweat'...A model of efficiency. The three players portray every human, using subtle physicality and muted accents to distinguish roles without slipping into caricature...Eighty straight minutes of searing brilliance."
Frank Scheck
The Hollywood Reporter
ShowScore: 60
"More didactic than narratively involving, the show never accumulates much dramatic force...The ensemble's frequent shifts in gender and nationality are sometimes confusing, and while there are many powerful moments, the narrative is choppy and disjointed...Clocking in at a mere 80 minutes, the play doesn't wear out its welcome. It also features occasional doses of pungent humor...At its conclusion, you wind up feeling exactly the same way as when it began."

“Mlima's Tale” was also reviewed by Michael Sommers of New York Stage Review, Robert Hofler of The Wrap, Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Jonathan Mandell of New York Theater, Steven Suskin of New York Stage Review, Sara Holdren of New York Magazine / Vulture, Matt Windman of AM New York, and Robert Sholiton of Gotham Playgoer.


The show was also reviewed by 37 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 78.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant, Ambitious

Vince 2, ShowScore: 60
See it if… "You are interested in seeing a beautifully presented show on the subject of ivory poaching by a great playwright." 
Don't see it if…"You are not interested in an arid expose of corruption. This is poetic and lovely to look at, but unengaging and obvious."
AndrewW, ShowScore: 89
See it if…"You want to see an inventively minimalist staging of a difficult social ill." 
Don't see it if…"You have difficulty with symbolic storytelling or unconventional narratives."
Sally 8090, ShowScore: 85
See it if…"You want to learn about the arc of money market dynamics (new wealth 'collectors') that drive the slaughter of elephants - bribes and trade." 
Don't see it if…"You don't like anthropomorphic direction (like Julie Taymor's work). This is exquisite art and Sahr Ngaujah as the elephant is spellbinding."

See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.

Already closed
Mlima's Tale
168 reviews
Overall Score

Note: The ShowScore displayed above is current as of right now, and may be different from the ShowScore when the article was published.