REVIEW ROUNDUP: “The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood” Opened with a ShowScore of 76

Show-Score | Sep 18, 2017
“The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood,” written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Sarah Benson, opened on September 17, 2017 in New York City. “The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood,” written by Suzan-Lori Parks and directed by Sarah Benson, opened on September 17, 2017 in New York City.


9 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 81.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 85
"A first-rate revival...Plays with theatrical traditions and the expectations that come with them...'The Red Letter Plays' allow us a chance to consider the extraordinary and elusive talent of Parks, a dramatist who seems to reinvent the form with every new offering...Benson reins in the hectoring and melodrama. Each performance is both subtly stylized and naturalistic enough for us to identify the characters as people we know."
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 75
"A searing revival...Parks probes the limits of our tolerance as a society...Parks' Brechtian proclivities mean that her astute social points are often underlined with a Sharpie. This is especially true during the confessional monologues delivered by each character. Some of the actors struggle to hold our attention in these moments as a drama becomes a lecture. The performances are otherwise excellent under Sarah Benson's steady direction."
Raven Snook
Time Out New York
ShowScore: 85
"Seizes you from the get-go...The play premiered in 1999, but now, with homelessness at record levels in NYC and a national backslide in women’s reproductive rights, it seems perhaps even more relevant. Its urgency is heightened by director Benson’s relentless pace and the ensemble cast’s unfettered performances...Parks’ scathing indictment of how society treats impoverished women gets your pulse pumping even as it breaks your heart."

“The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood” was also reviewed by Barbara Schuler of Newsday, Sara Holdren of New York Magazine / Vulture, Thom Geier of The Wrap, Tami Shaloum of Stage Buddy, Brian Scott Lipton of Theater Pizzazz, and Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway.


The show was also reviewed by 47 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 75.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Absorbing, Intense, Great staging, Great acting, Relevant

J, ShowScore: 76 
See it if…"You are a fan of the writing of Parks; you are interested in how 'the system' treats those most in need and how callous humans can be."
Don't see it if…"You are looking for a finished play. I often felt like I was sitting through a college sociology class. Strong topic deserves more emotion."
Wish I Could See Them All, ShowScore: 90
See it if…"You want to see the class structure of modern society as experienced by a rebellious welfare mother. Hypocrisy abounds. Deep writing, great set." 
Don't see it if…"You don't want to explore the ugliness of human nature. Includes seamy and explicit sexual dialog." 
moonchange, ShowScore: 75
See it if…"You want to see a well-acted and well-directed, incisive (if bleak) take on the value our society places on women and motherhood." 
Don't see it if…"You're looking for a light fluffy night of theater."

See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.

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