Mlima's Tale
Closed 1h 30m
Mlima's Tale

Mlima's Tale NYC Reviews and Tickets

(139 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Relevant

About the Show

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage returns to the Public with a new drama, which takes us on a journey that starts in a game park in Kenya and goes around the world.

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Member Reviews (139)

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1 Review | 0 Followers
Excruciating, Slow, Thought-provoking, Banal, Disappointing

See it if you're into eco-conservation. It's a good tale around the global bad actors in poaching.

Don't see it if you're looking to a nuanced, arched storyline. This was honestly the worst play I've seen in my life.

126 Reviews | 17 Followers
During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You like shows that are preachy and try to lecture you about elephant poaching with little character development.

Don't see it if You like plays where you care about the characters and can follow the narrative.

Critic Reviews (31)

The New York Times
April 15th, 2018

"Nottage’s beautiful, endlessly echoing portrait of a murder and its afterlife...Nottage and her director have shaped this story with such theatrical inventiveness and discipline that it never feels sensational, on the one hand, or pious, on the other...She packs a wealth of cultural, political, and economic detail into each scene...Yet the facts, figures, and folklore never feel jimmied in; the exchange of information among the characters is fluid and always appropriate to the circumstances."
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Time Out New York
April 16th, 2018

"Director Jo Bonney’s beautiful production traces the path of Mlima’s prized tusks through the international ivory market...'Mlima’s Tale' has an exceptional cast, whose four actors of color play multiple roles (sometimes transracially). The world Nottage has brought to the stage is rich with detail, its characters complex and engaging. The epic journey falls short only in its foreseeable and somewhat anticlimactic ending."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 15th, 2018

"While it’s not a revelatory theatrical experience, the show is tightly crafted and engagingly performed...Moves us swiftly and often effectively through its story...If Nottage’s play lacks something, it’s a sense of surprise...Bonney does crisp, uptempo work with her actors, and scores the transitions between Nottage’s duets at a confident clip...The dialogue between the corrupt human beings often crackles, but when Mlima is left alone onstage, he’s got to deliver somewhat purple monologues."
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The Hollywood Reporter
April 15th, 2018

"More didactic than narratively involving, the show never accumulates much dramatic force...The ensemble's frequent shifts in gender and nationality are sometimes confusing, and while there are many powerful moments, the narrative is choppy and disjointed...Clocking in at a mere 80 minutes, the play doesn't wear out its welcome. It also features occasional doses of pungent humor...At its conclusion, you wind up feeling exactly the same way as when it began."
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New York Daily News
April 15th, 2018

"A haunting drama about avarice and ivory...The subject matter isn’t ground-breaking, but Nottage’s by turns lacerating and lyrical play leaves a mark. So does Mlima (Sahr Ngaujah, an actor with a mighty physical presence and voice) on the greedy murderers, middle-men, and millionaire collectors connected to his death. They’re deftly played by Ito Aghayere, Jojo Gonzalez and Kevin Mambo. Musician Justin Hicks adds sonic textures to Jo Bonney’s fluid and striking staging."
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AM New York
April 15th, 2018

"Three versatile 'players' cross racial and gender boundaries to portray numerous figures, ranging from corrupt bureaucrats and traders to a cargo ship captain and sculptor...Nottage’s underlying notion (that people from all kinds of backgrounds can easily become engaged in unethical activities) is genuinely unsettling. It turns what is a highly unusual drama about an elephant into a tragedy with universal implications."
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April 15th, 2018

"Nottage's unrelenting machine of a play...Audiences won't soon forget the anguished wail of its title character...In many ways, 'Mlima's Tale' is a sharper critique of capitalism than Nottage's last play, 'Sweat'...A model of efficiency. The three players portray every human, using subtle physicality and muted accents to distinguish roles without slipping into caricature...Eighty straight minutes of searing brilliance."
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April 18th, 2018

"With his lean, muscular physique suggesting the massive size and elegant curves of 'big tusker' elephant hesitantly surveying the evening landscape of his savannah terrain, Sahr Ngaujah gives a captivating performance, poetic in both movement and emotion...It's said that, without a proper burial, elephants will haunt their killers forever. Mlima indeed remains a presence throughout director Jo Bonney's graceful Public Theater production."
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