REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Relevance” Opened with a ShowScore of 71

Show-Score | Feb 26, 2018
“Relevance,” written by JC Lee and directed by Liesl Tommy, opened on February 20, 2018 in New York City. “Relevance,” written by JC Lee and directed by Liesl Tommy, opened on February 20, 2018 in New York City.


9 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 59.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 55
"Lee’s play descends into what feels like a clash of talking points that never jell into persuasive form...Shows an admirable willingness to wrestle with uncomfortable subjects. It also shares an honorable refusal to provide conclusive answers...or to tilt its sympathies heavily toward any one of its prickly characters. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to feel much interest in, let alone liking for, any of them...Feels like an intriguing rough draft prematurely thrown into public view."
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 65
"Liesl Tommy helms a production that often feels phoned-in...Still, Tommy succeeds in conveying Lee's story and ideas, and there are some big ones here...Even if you don't fully buy the play's contrivance, you cannot resist feeling something about the provocative themes behind it. Lee deserves points for bravely attempting these theatrical triple axels, even if he occasionally lands on his ass."
Frank Scheck
The Hollywood Reporter
ShowScore: 55
"It's admirable to see a playwright addressing such weighty topics, but 'Relevance' proves intellectually overstuffed and dramatically undercooked. Too often echoing the sort of academic symposiums that feature heavily in its plot, the play threatens to sink under its own weight. Only the talents of its formidable lead performers, Jayne Houdyshell and Pascale Armand, keep it afloat...'Relevance' emerges as a confusing muddle when it comes to what drives these two combatants."

“Relevance” was also reviewed by Tim Teeman of Daily Beast, Brian Scott Lipton of CitiTour, Regina Robbins of Time Out New York, Max McGuinness of Financial Times (UK), David Hurst of Talkin' Broadway, and Jonathan Mandell of DC Theatre Scene.


The show was also reviewed by 71 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 72.

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

David 57, ShowScore: 78
See it if… "If you are interested in a serious, though imperfect play about contemporary politics." 
Don't see it if…"You want a cleanly edited piece of traditional theater."
banksdn, ShowScore: 81 
See it if… "You are interested in the dynamics of academia intersecting feminism and race." 
Don't see it if…"You want action. This is mostly talk . If you want answers so do the characters, but life is not that clear."
Chad K, ShowScore: 70 
See it if… "You enjoy plays that debate issues relevant to the current cultural climate. Really utilizes social media well. Script could be tighter.
Don't see it if…"You are looking for something with a lot of action. The acting is a little rigid, they don't own the words yet. A little too presentational."

See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.

Already closed
131 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.