REVIEW ROUNDUP: “Yen” Opened with a ShowScore of 70

Show-Score | Feb 1, 2017
“Yen,” written by Anna Jordan and directed by Trip Cullman, opened on January 31, 2017 in New York City. “Yen,” written by Anna Jordan and directed by Trip Cullman, opened on January 31, 2017 in New York City.


14 critics reviewed the show, resulting in a weighted average of 71.

Ben Brantley
The New York Times
ShowScore: 70
“These feral creatures, who live on their own in a rancid apartment in a suburban London housing project, are portrayed with equal sensitivity and fierceness by Lucas Hedges and Justice Smith…’Yen’ is a thoughtful play, for sure, but too often you’re aware of the wheels churning behind it...You may feel that the characters are being pushed into climactic positions by authorial hands...Despite the resulting sensory overload, ‘Yen’ never quite packs the wallop it so obviously intends to.”
Zachary Stewart
ShowScore: 65
“Director Trip Cullman presents this story with clarity and sensitivity, aided by some truly remarkable acting...Smith gives one of the most electric performances of the season…It all seems calibrated to disturb and we can see the calculation coming, making ‘Yen’ something of a disappointment...Jordan proves herself to have a firm grip on both contemporary language and timeless human behavior…Unfortunately, she cannot resist the siren call of sensationalism."
Adam Feldman
Time Out New York
ShowScore: 80
“Writing with vigor and sympathy, Jordan evokes the boys’ volatile combination of poverty, misogyny and piss-poor communication skills, and Trip Cullman once again adeptly charts a modern teenage wasteland. Although ‘Yen’ peters off after its climax, the intense and soulful Hedges and the astoundingly energetic Smith give a pair of extraordinary performances. It’s impossible to shift your eyes from them as they bounce off or hit their walls."

“Yen” was also reviewed by Steven Ross of Front Mezz Junkies, Robert Sholiton of Bob's Theater Blog, Robert Kahn of WNBC, Jonathan Mandell of DC Theatre Scene, Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, Jeremy Gerard of Deadline, Linda Winer of Newsday, Joe Dziemianowicz of New York Daily News, Jesse Green of New York Magazine / Vulture, Matthew Murray of Talkin' Broadway, and Frank Rizzo of Variety.


The show was also reviewed by 47 Show-Score members, whose collective ShowScore is a weighted average of 69.

Top five adjectives describing the show:
Great acting, Intense, Edgy, Absorbing, Ambitious

J, ShowScore: 83 
See it if…"You want to see difficult roles played with lots of heart by excellent actors. A low-income, dysfunctional family in need of love and leadership." 
Don't see it if…"You want a fairy-tale story with a neat, pat, uplifting ending; you are squeamish; you're looking for a reality escape."
Joseph 2, ShowScore: 71
See it if…"You are up to seeing great acting in a play that's sometimes compelling, sometimes clumsy. Lucas Hedges makes a sensational New York stage debut."
Don't see it if…"You'd rather not see kitchen-sink drama brought into the 21st century."

FrancescaNYC, ShowScore: 50 
See it if…"You like gritty dramas. The characters are thoroughly unlikable in Act 1.
Don't see it if…"You can't handle foul language."

See the Show Page with all critic and member reviews.

Already closed
179 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.