Shrapnel Theatre & Hartshorn-Hook Foundation present the NYC premiere of this dramedy about the end of a bad date that turns out to be the start of a very odd evening. Part of 59E59's annual Brits Off Broadway festival. More…
After matching on a dating app, Claire and James meet for an awkward first date. On their way home, the brand-new Night Tube breaks down. Forced to get to know each other a little better, things start to get weird. Featuring an interfering loudspeaker system, a wise–if drunk–pub landlord, and a big swipe right, 'Underground' looks at the phenomenon of loneliness in a crowd, and what happens when the daily grind gets disrupted.
“Two likeable people, James (Michael Jinks) and Claire (Bebe Sanders) meet online, have dinner in a local pub owned by Steve (Andrew McDonald) and take the Underground home. That's about it. Of course, that's only the basic, very basic, outline. What makes ‘Underground’ a quiet delight is the way van Tricht takes this trite situation and beefs it up with insightful conversation, intriguing situations that border on the fantastic and a clear empathy with her characters.” Full Review
"This is a humorous, engaging show with very broad appeal. It brings the phenomenon of online dating to the stage...The three-person cast does a great job of bringing this clever story to life in the theater's intimate space. Their portrayals of the characters are spot-on...'Underground' is an appealing, thoughtful depiction of Internet dating. It is a play that metro-area audiences will surely enjoy." Full Review
"A well-crafted play about loneliness and the evolution (or dissolution) of relationships...Both Michael Jinks playing James and Bebe Sanders as Claire are engaging and so real that it seems as if you have known them for years. Isla van Trich’s dialogue compellingly reinforces the reality and subtlety of the production...With their stellar, relaxed, totally believable performances, Michael Jinks, Bebe Sanders and Andrew McDonald all convince us what is possible." Full Review
“James and Claire are both attractive figures, especially as played by the attractive Jinks and Sanders under Kate Tiernan’s crisp direction. Because they are, onlookers will likely hope, as James does, that they’ll click for the longer term. Do they? That’s where minding the gap comes in.” Full Review
"All in all, it is the charming and credible performances of Mr. Jinks and Ms. Sanders, under Kate Tiernan's direction, that make the evening such an enjoyable one. Even without the offbeat events in the stalled tube, the time we've spent with them has been a smile-inducing act of eavesdropping on a pair of amiable, slightly off-kilter characters. We can only wish them well as we exit, taking heed to mind the gap!" Full Review
"Comedy careens off drama and realism ricochets off magical realism to spin an interesting and engaging tale...Van Tricht’s characters are believable and well-developed with characteristics and conflicts that contribute to the play’s non-linear plot...Tiernan’s direction moves the action forward perfectly and her attention to detail is remarkable. Despite the theatrical conceits and themes being somewhat commonplace, the actors bring a freshness to the discussion worth experiencing." Full Review
“Some dating practitioners are likely to swipe left for this modest little play…Smartly acted and directed, it captures the world of lonely young urbanites dependent on their phones for the kind of romantic relationships that no longer seem to happen spontaneously. But the familiarity of it all, with its millennials speaking inarticulately articulate small talk, albeit with a few decent laughs and the condiment of magic realism to spice it up a bit, may lead to others swiping right.” Full Review
"Van Tricht has some compelling ideas here, but the themes and message are too underdeveloped for the audience to truly feel her vision. This play feels a bit like a first act of a two-act play, or like a play missing a final scene...Despite the play’s brevity, the three-person cast makes the most of the comedic and emotionally charged moments. The set also makes the most of the smallest of 59E59’s spaces." Full Review
"It is a little hard to care about our would-be lovebirds...They smoke, they drink, they flirt awkwardly and the relationship goes nowhere fast, literally, as most of the inaction takes place on a stalled subway train...That said, both Mr. Jinks and Ms. Sanders give solid, believable performances. There is a definite chemistry between them, they are just denied the chance to combust." Full Review
for a previous production “Director Kate Tiernan has the action move along the space naturally. The performances are assured...Isla van Tricht's dialogue is a joy to listen to. It is delightfully comic and convincingly captures Claire and James's early relationship self–consciousness…They are suitably sketchy and have a commonness about them that is very apt for this funny story of everyday commuting folk.” Full Review
for a previous production “Wittily accurate…The actors present us with likable archetypes…The story is slightly spoilt in the last 20 minutes…It doesn’t quite make sense and a simple comedy drama about two people coming together is unnecessarily complicated by the end, as a result. 'Underground' works overall however, because it presents no easy platitudes and doesn’t descend into a rom-com fantasy. Rather it is an intelligent patchwork of good and bad moments." Full Review
for a previous production “Modest, modern and perceptive...A very well-written romance....Wheeler and Sanders demonstrate an enviable romantic chemistry…Both characters are eminently likable and believable…The only place things come a little unstuck are the more surreal segues…An eminently breezy experience, speckled with beautifully observed and played fragments of human interaction. It's got obvious heart, brains to back it up and captures that elusive, easily forgotten thrill of romance underground.” Full Review
for a previous production “The talented cast was able to make up for this slightly strained script by fleshing out their stereotyped characters and transforming them into real people, with their own delicate tics and intricacies. Michael Jinks and Bebe Sanders have an engaging, watchable chemistry…'Underground' raises some interesting questions about the anonymity of city life, but falls short of developing them to maturation.” Full Review
See it if Pure, unvarnished one on one communication. Connecting and relating, theater's bare bones essence. Actors' excellence make time fly.
Don't see it if Fringe production values, but reflected in ticket price. Short length may not justify visit.
Also High quality Brits Off Broadway program, as usual. Cheers.
See it if you are interested in well written, well acted, small scale productions imported from the UK. Very funny, but also timely.
Don't see it if You are looking for a bigger, more complicated production.
See it if you like an honest portrayal of the challenging, skeptical but still hopeful striving by Gen Y for intimacy and meaning in digital dating.
Don't see it if you dislike small cast, minimal set, short, talky drama about a straight, romantic relationship between attractive, non-Hispanic Caucasians.
See it if You enjoy commentary on dating culture, are a millennial who uses dating apps, or are into and interconnectedness of humanity
Don't see it if You aren't wanting to see a romance play or don't know much about current dating culture (apps)
See it if you like top tier acting in a fun little show.59E59 always does a great job with the Brits Off Bway. This is a gem of a show.
Don't see it if you are looking for something profound or eye-popping. This is a small intimate show about real people. Well worth seeing.
See it if Superb acting in an ultra-intimate setting. Captures the intricacies of a first date in this anxious age. Plus British accents. Fine script.
Don't see it if your cynicism undermines your ability to embrace a romance about two unlikely souls connecting through an app and their ups and downs.
See it if you like cute scenes and endearingly, realistically awkward characters meandering through a quiet, intimate, slice-of-life show.
Don't see it if you prefer taut pacing, higher stakes, and neatly wrapped-up plots without loose ends or any suspension of disbelief.
See it if you like unambitious productions that are fun and entertaining, with great actors and a smart but not very well orchestrated staging.
Don't see it if you expect an intellectual play with twists, politically charged, or deep meanings. Although, the play is not shallow at all.
See it if you'd enjoy a charming play about on-line dating and the insecurities of today's youth; their interactions with the older generation.
Don't see it if you have no idea about today's online dating apps, tweeting, etc. You won't get much out of this play if you can't keep up. Seniors be aware
See it if You'd like an update on the Boy meets Girl storyline in the 21st Century, particularly via digital dating with a Cell Phone App to meet IRL!
Don't see it if The fumblings of Millenials who have zero motivation in life, will probably bore you to death.
See it if you'll enjoy a play-at 70 minutes,more a sketch-about being young & single trying to find "the one" in a big city. It's a "fringe" type show
Don't see it if you're expecting something more than a 1 act play w/ minimal staging; prefer plays with a straightforward plot & fully developed characters
Also Dialog is very clever and believable.
See it if You like British dramas with real Brits acting. Contemporary issues. Young generation. Plays set in London. Short plays; this runs just ove
Don't see it if You don't like British drama, people kissing on stage, minimal sets.
See it if You enjoy very good acting and direction. The mood is as welcome and embracing as it is searching.
Don't see it if You need it all to add up. I so enjoyed spending time with this play, but I was never clear as to what journey the characters were on.
See it if You want to see a simply staged performance about meeting a person of the opposite sex and their first date. You want to laugh.
Don't see it if You don't like simply staged plays. You are not interested in romantic plays.
See it if Enjoyable one act play in the style of a British romantic comedy, confined to the "meet-cute." Uneven script, baffling ending
Don't see it if Singles wading through the modern world of dating with a high emphasis on the tech and apps involved is not of interest
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