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Downtown Race Riot

From 102 member  reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense

About the show

Chloë Sevigny headlines the New Group's world premiere drama which offers a snapshot of a time not so different than today, when a new social freedom ran smack into the forces of reaction. More…

On a hot late summer day in 1976, a mob of young men – all white except one – descended on Washington Square Park with pipes and bats, and attacked any people of color they could find. 'Downtown Race Riot' takes us back to this day, in the cramped Village apartment of Mary Shannon (Chloë Sevigny), a strung-out, free-wheeling single mom, as her son Pnut, and his Haitian best friend Massive wrestle with their obligation to join the riot. The boys, torn between loyalty to each other and to the neighborhood, grasp for ways to keep the violence from destroying their friendship forever.

Member Reviews (102)


Disappointing, Great acting, Slow, Absorbing, Intense
Avg Score

Banal, Disappointing, Excruciating, Lifeless, Pointless

See it if you're a fan of Chloe Sevigny & want to see her give another dead-behind-the-eyes performance.

Don't see it if a listless, meaningless, dull, cliched, uninsightful, awkwardly-staged downer of a play isn't your idea of a good way to waste 2 hours.

Also If, for some reason, you feel compelled to see this production, be sur... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Edgy, Relevant, Slow, Banal

See it if Despite terrific production values, adaquate performances & volitile subject matter, this Riot fails to ignite Elliot's direction lethargic

Don't see it if Sevigny's low-keyed junkie mom seems to set the tone for this talk fest about ethnic cleansing circa 1976 A violent outburst comes to late

Absorbing, Great acting, Edgy, Resonant, Intelligent

See it if or a loved one has a problem with recreational drugs, or have the courage to look at a broken family unit under pressure.

Don't see it if only like to see plays that tell stories that can only be told in the theater: this is gripping TV drama done live, very live!

Disappointing, Overrated, Slow, Banal, Unfulfilling

See it if you're a Chloe Sevigny fan, want to see a good perf by a young actor, David Levi, like new plays, interested in NYC 1970's history & fights

Don't see it if you don't like lengthy periods of non-action or depictions of drug use and sex or plenty of unresolved issues,

Also The detail of the set is magnificent, but if you are seated upstairs o... Read more Read less

Edgy, Great acting, Absorbing, Underrated

See it if Sevigny's brand of passive aggression is on full display is this druggy '70s dysfunctional family. Elliott's direction is superb. O'Neill?

Don't see it if Rather odd set too large for space. Casual nonchalant drug addiction by Mother Chloe. Brief unrealisticlly threatening violence at the end.

Good sets, bad staging, Excruciating, Slow, Pointless, 51 for effort

See it if you have a connection to Washington Square Park in the 1970s; you usually like New Group productions; you're a fan of charicatures.

Don't see it if Could have, should have, but didn't go anywhere. Boring and trite. Accents of a couple of the characters are cartoonish and stereotyped.

Also The stage format and audience seating are panoramic. It is near imposs... Read more Read less

Better than the rewiews on here suggest

See it if You want to see a gritty drama with a great set and very believable characters

Don't see it if You are looking for something light

Also I am learning a lot about my self and what I like. This is not a perfe... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Depressing, Cliched, Uneven acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You like Chloe Sevigny and David Levi. Are ready to get mad about wasted lives and hopeless people. Get dizzy watching too many ideas.

Don't see it if You dislike obscene language, drug use, violence, explicit sex, abuse, no intermission for a dragged out play.

Absorbing, Fast-paced, Character-driven

See it if you're more interested in character-driven plays than an elaborate plot. The play moved along quickly and had some great moments.

Don't see it if you're looking for a gripping story. The focus is more on the family dynamics between a junkie mother and her two kids.

Disappointing, Slow, Cliched, Uneven acting

See it if a play with a several story lines - a drug addicted mother, her son with a black friend & racist friends...but very little about Race Riot

Don't see it if you want an interesting historical story on Race Riot, characters that aren't cliched

Also the set was excellent except very, very long - the four rooms are stre... Read more Read less

Excruciating, Disappointing, Confusing

See it if you like Chloe Sevigny. A chance to see her act live instead of watching her in a movie.

Don't see it if you want a plot that you can follow. This is incomprehensible. The characters are hard to hear, the layout of the theater makes it totally

Also impossible to hear if one is sitting on the sides. Lots of fighting, c... Read more Read less

Banal, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if Not quite sure why one would choose this.

Don't see it if Nothing new, not any characters one cares about, situation is so predictable.

Confusing, Excruciating, Dull, Indulgent, Pointless

See it if If there is a point or plot to this, I couldn't figure it out. Indulgent, dreary scenes of sex, drug taking & violence. Tepid acting.

Don't see it if You care about a cohesive plot. The play does nothing to illuminate the title - what race riot?

Great acting, Great staging, Profound, Upsetting

See it if you want to see a show about hoodlum kids living in 1970's Greenwich Village and the effect their actions take on their friendship & family.

Don't see it if you don't like violent plays about misguided youth and friendship trying to survive in a hostile world of the 1970's.

Excruciating, Slow, Inauthentic, Disappointing, Left an hour in

See it if You feel you must see Chloe S on stage in a small theatre. No other reason.

Don't see it if You want real communication and connection between and among characters. The script goes nowhere -- and sooooo slowly.

Also Such a static and boring show. The actors seemed as bored as those of ... Read more Read less

Intense, Great staging, Slow, Disappointing, Indulgent

See it if you want to be immersed in a '76 NYC setting—set, costumes, staging great—minus any heart. Or to support New Group & a talented young cast.

Don't see it if expecting to connect with material or the characters. This feels authentic to time/place but at arms length, despite intimacy of space.

Also I so admire the director, Scott Elliott, & enjoyed hearing his thought... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Disappointing, Edgy, Slow, Dated

See it if You want to love and hate a show at the same time. It explores relevant topics, but only superficially. It aims to shock, but doesn’t.

Don't see it if You want a payoff at the end of the show. Everything felt kind of weighted down—like even the actors were kind of bored.

Confusing, Disappointing, Slow

See it if You are a huge fan of Chloe Sevigny. She is excellent as is the cast. It's the play that misses.

Don't see it if I wanted to love this play. It highlights issues which resonate today - identity, violence, drugs, etc. but it misses and that made be sad.

Clowns downtown

See it if Fun to view the new batch of talent. Five young actors in showcase roles. Sevigny is somehow a draw, more for her name than actual talent.

Don't see it if Must be in center section. Sides are a tough view.

Also Scott is cute and sexy. Josh Pais turns in another excellent performan... Read more Read less

Indulgent, Cliched, Confusing, Dated

See it if you're interested in 1970s NYC I guess. The set is cool, the acting is very uneven. People seem to be in different plays from each other.

Don't see it if you don't like dramas that stay unresolved. Not much actually happens in this, there's just lots of talk about what is going to happen.

Edgy, Intense

See it if Your a fan of Chloe Sevigny and willing to sit through a rough and tumble play. Reminded me of Eugene O'Neil in some ways.

Don't see it if A raw play with hostile characters is a turn off and a very hard sit through.

Dizzying, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you really like Chloe Sevigny and just have to see her on stage.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a family drama pretending to be a political story.

Well acted, Absorbing, Somewhat confusing, Disappointing, Racial issues

See it if you want a play based on recent [1970s] New York history. Issues relevant then are still the topics of discussion today.

Don't see it if you want a play with issues presented clearly. The characters were hard to relate to.

Disappointing, Raunchy, Actually raunchy is a bit harsh, but there is nudity and a dry-hump on a couch. shock value only, Slow, Golden globe winning actress chloe sevigny is good but much of the play she is left in a side bedroom watching tv -wtf??

See it if There's RIOT going on in midtown at the Signature, but it's long slog down the sidewalk to 10th av, then a long slog till the aforesaid riot

Don't see it if If you aren't a BIG fan of Chloe Sevigny or bare-chested boys, then skip it. Seems like a Sam Shepherd wannabe wrote it, no cigar. Great set

Also One thing I would like to add it that THE SET by Derek McClane is an a... Read more Read less

Wanted: dramaturg, Riotous fight evicts boredom, In the neighborhood of good, Too much downtime

See it if you .ant to support a worthy but inconsistent Off-Broadway troupe, are a fan of Chloe Sevigny and the vibe of The Deuce.

Don't see it if you hope for a well-structured script with dialogue that doesn’t meander and characters that capture the heart and mind.

December 3rd, 2017
"About as likely to raise your blood pressure as a homeopathic sleeping pill...You are likely to have felt your eyelids getting heavier and heavier...The action seems to be occurring at a hazy remove, as if it were operating according to sense memory...Sevigny exudes an air of defensive detachmen...
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December 3rd, 2017
"There was a black man among the attackers. It’s the most interesting aspect of 'Downtown Race Riot,' which otherwise indulges in clichés as liberally as Mary does heroin...The New Group’s subpar production—which includes comically on-the-nose design, unconvincing Noo Yawk accents and strangely s...
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December 3rd, 2017
"The play never conjures up the sense of danger you associate with the period. Watching it is like walking through a seedy neighborhood in the middle of the night, only without the suspense...While its premise would seem to hold the promise of tension, the play is a listless affair marked by long...
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December 7th, 2017
"Sevigny plays a sexy-hippie drug addict like a pro in Rosenfeld’s unfocused new play. But she also gracefully shows us the better side of her character...Rosenfeld can’t seem to focus his attention on a central character — and director Elliott can’t seem to do anything about that...Mary is such ...
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