Underground Railroad Game
Closed 1h 15m
Underground Railroad Game

Underground Railroad Game NYC Reviews and Tickets

(122 Ratings)
Members say
Thought-provoking, Edgy, Ambitious, Relevant, Intense

About the Show

Ars Nova presents a return engagement of this taboo-smashing comedy that ravages American tropes about race, sex, and power politics. Winner of the 2017 Obie for Best New American Play.

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Show-Score Member Reviews (122)

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95 Reviews | 28 Followers
Must see, Original, Raunchy, Great staging, Exquisite

See it if incendiary, graceful, bracing and wild. A virtuosic collaboration exemplifying the best in devised work, full of big laughs and rich ideas.

Don't see it if not a tame evening. It moves from delightful to sickening in a blink.

52 Reviews | 16 Followers
Edgy, Intense, Riveting, Relevant, Satirical

See it if you are open to having actors use theater and performance art to explore racism and stereotyping in both a deeply comical and serious way

Don't see it if You need a strict narrative play to be entertained, cannot laugh at biases, or cannot handle female or male frontal nudity

80 Reviews | 17 Followers
Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Great writing, Original

See it if you're not afraid to look at yourself and others honestly and laugh at yourself.

Don't see it if you're entrenched in your views on race, sex and power!

729 Reviews | 316 Followers
Combo of satire, comedic romance & kinky sex makes for an absurdist tour de force about slavery; may be too strong stuff for some

See it if audacious & hilarious, changing focus on a dime; fine perfs by duo; jarring/makes u think anew about slavery

Don't see it if broad & in your face; purposely shocking, sadomasochistic shtick gets your attention but may be off-putting to some Read more

69 Reviews | 11 Followers
Relevant, Intelligent, Hilarious, Epic, Raw

See it if You like confrontational, funny, uncompromising theater.

Don't see it if You have issues with (very minor) audience participation, nudity, or blunt language about race and sex. Read more

758 Reviews | 242 Followers
Edgy, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You want to be wowed by an utterly original play with insights into racism, sexuality and human nature.

Don't see it if You are unprepared for stunning sex infused scenes that build to a climax in more ways than one.

198 Reviews | 36 Followers
Funny, Must see, Great writing, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if You are craving a play with lots of ideas and wit

Don't see it if Nudity ( both male and female ) makes you squirm

72 Reviews | 10 Followers
Funny, Ambitious, Intelligent

See it if You like challenging theater. You are interested in the politics of identity. You want to see a show that tackles racism.

Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with nudity/sexuality. You are easily offended. You don't like experimental theater.

Critic Reviews (24)

New York Stage Review
June 2nd, 2019

"Kidwell, who is black, and Sheppard, who’s white, have exactly the opposite intent. Both are smart, vibrant performers who, abetted by director Taibi Magar and a talented design team, evoke slavery’s poisonous and enduring legacy with daring, intuitive theatricality...The audience members around me alternately laughed, sucked in their breath and sat in stunned silence...This accomplished, compelling play, suggests that the arc of justice has not yet been permanently derailed."
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New York Stage Review
June 1st, 2019

“An unusually entertaining piece...Hilarious and provocative and original...This unconventional and decidedly unsettling work presents a bold, thought-provoking consideration of racial and sexual assumptions that does not provide any answers but certainly will spark conversation...The play is fearlessly performed...Smart writing and sharp interplay are enhanced by the fluency of Magar’s subtle staging that seamlessly shifts events between real and surreal...Delightfully adventurous show.”
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New York Theater
June 1st, 2019

"Sheppard and Jennifer Kidwell have fashioned a captivating work of theater that is bravely acted, inventively designed, and relentlessly surprising — dizzying in its anarchic turns from playful to hateful, satiric to sadistic...Since the surprises are much of what made the show feel so theatrically explosive to me, I am reluctant to disclose many details...Now, it’s hard to miss the pointed commentary beneath both the humor and the ferocity in the show."
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Gotham Playgoer
June 1st, 2019

"This hilariously discomfiting examination of race, sex, and power...The audience is occasionally induced to be the student body at an assembly...The play, which jumps rapidly from the lesson plan to fantasies and surreal episodes, is so crammed with material that it is hard to believe that it is only 75 minutes long...I was alternately amused, annoyed, shocked and baffled. I don’t know whether you will love it or hate it, but I can guarantee that you won’t be bored."
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The New York Times
September 26th, 2016
For a previous production

"In-all-ways sensational...This production lures you into its seemingly sunny classroom with the snarky cheer of a hip comedy sketch. But as its title promises, this play winds up taking you into subterranean territory...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...Manages to be...shocking in ways that 'Dutchman' must have been 50-some years ago."
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Time Out New York
September 26th, 2016
For a previous production

"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."
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The Washington Post
October 7th, 2016
For a previous production

"This riveting, whip-smart performance piece is as daringly unexpurgated as anything you’ll encounter onstage today. It’s an effort to reset the table for the complicated conversation about race that America eternally attempts to start, and always ends up recoiling from in guilt and insecurity and anger…Kidwell and Sheppard are equally magnetic here and yes, truly brave. Along with their savvy director and designers, they play enthrallingly with dynamite."
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Lighting & Sound America
October 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Kidwell and Sheppard have devised an effective vehicle for their talents, one that confidently rides the audience's nerves for 90 minutes, daring us not to be offended and forcing us to think hard about what we're feeling...They play together with unusual finesse, even as they follow the play's argument down some distinctly dark corridors. Taibi Magar's direction keeps us on pins and needles, ricocheting from easy laughter to high tension and back again."
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