REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Underground Railroad Game” Opened with a ShowScore of 84

Show-Score | Sep 27, 2016
“Underground Railroad Game,” written by Jennifer Kidwell and directed by Taibi Magar, opened on September 26, 2016 in New York City. “Underground Railroad Game,” written by Jennifer Kidwell and directed by Taibi Magar, opened on September 26, 2016 in New York City.


9 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 89.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 90
"In-all-ways sensational...The play conjures searing theatrical visuals to match its wayward words, the sort of images that used to send people to Freudian analysts when they cropped up in nightmares...It could be argued, I suppose, that the play repeats the same points a tad too often. Yet it has such vivid diversity of presentation that it never seems monotonous...'Underground Railroad Game' manages to be, in the year 2016, shocking in ways that 'Dutchman' must have been 50-some years ago."
Adam Feldman
Time Out New York
ShowScore: 85
"There's a hint of race war in the color war–style kids’ game for which Jennifer Kidwell and Scott Sheppard’s outrageously funny and discomfiting show is named...The taboo-flouting script is matched by bold, smart performances from both actors...At the performance I attended, the laughter and shock of the almost exclusively white audience had a tinge of self-flagellation, which felt gratifying—if not, as the play makes clear, necessarily liberating."
Ran Xia
Theatre is Easy
ShowScore: 95
"It is indeed a feast of various styles of storytelling, keeping audience members on the edge of their seats as the play snaps between its different aspects like a well-conducted orchestra, all the while challenging you to look into the depth of our nation’s history...It takes courage to create a play like 'Underground Railroad Game.' The 'Inception'-like layers of the plot do not sacrifice clarity, as the message of the play is relevant to all."


The show was also reviewed by 19 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 83.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Thought-provoking, Edgy, Intense, Original, Ambitious

Adam 11, ShowScore: 75
See it if…"You enjoy shows that boldly explore challenging issues." 
Don't see it if…"You expect neat/tidy conclusions or expect to arrive at a clear solution for society's race and gender conflicts." 
Also…"Don't be scared by the reported audience participation. It's really just direct address. I assure you, the supposed audience participation is not what will make you uncomfortable. See it! It's worth it!"
MJK, ShowScore: 77
See it if…"You enjoy how Ars Nova, one of the most original theatre companies, challenges theatrical conventions and controversy, this time on race and sex." 
Don't see it if…"You expect any new insight on race relations. It begins with a clever premise (based on an actual event) but falters with 'backstage' antics."
Gracee, ShowScore: 75
See it if…"You want to be challenged by disconcerting themes, you like being in that zone of discomfort (that I don't always enjoy)." 
Don't see it if…"You're expecting a simple piece of theatre, you're not ready for nudity, graphic imagery and/or audience participation."

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.