St. Ann’s Warehouse presents the U.S. premiere of this acclaimed work from London which brings to life the powerful, short-lived, self-governing society of the jungle, a refugee camp in northern France. More…
The play is a remembrance of the now bulldozed camp in Calais, France known as the Jungle, where thousands of refugees who had escaped drought, war, and strife-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East waited for their “good chance” passage to Britain. With minimal resources in the squalid, sprawling landfill-turned-makeshift-camp, immigrants and committed volunteers built a warm, self-governing, diverse society—with restaurants, shops, a school, a church—from nothing.
"This is not merely the story of a triumphant theatrical production. 'The Jungle' is living history, which would make it impressive enough. But the method of the piece inserts 'we, the people,' literally into the action...Patrons are not merely presented with an impassioned representation of this monstrous refugee camp...we are plunked inside the story, inside the migrant camp...The most riveting moments come from John Pfumojena as Okot, the 17-year-old refugee from Darfur." Full Review
"Extraordinary...A smart, searching, provocative piece the finds hope in this miserable place and questions how and why the world allows human beings to live like that...It’s an immersive experience that puts spectators inside a restaurant in the camp, with the action going on all around us...It both tells a story that’s important and presents that story with such bracing immediacy...The sprawling cast...is uniformly excellent but also a true ensemble." Full Review
"Under the direction of Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, none of these fine actors -- nor anyone else in the company -- ring a false note, even as they scatter through the audience, performing tense and intimate scenes inches away from the viewers...To see 'The Jungle' right now is to experience the forces of history in a way that happens in the theatre only rarely...As this towering work makes clear, mercy must come first." Full Review
“The audience is intended to experience as intimately as possible the emotional and physical crises endured by the bedeviled migrants and the…British NGOs seeking to help them…The action is both realistic and stylized, serious and (occasionally) funny, and the dialogue delivered both quietly and, more frequently, argumentatively…May all such worthy chance-takers eventually succeed, may our own government never build a border wall, and may we and other nations create humane immigration policies.” Full Review
"A remarkable production...Shows what theater can do at its best to open us up to a world we otherwise ignore...The show makes clear the joy that some felt in this place that had become their home...Such exuberance, we learn, is provisional, abruptly interrupted by the grim reality of their lives, the present only an occasional respite from their gruesome pasts." Full Review
“An emotionally jarring production that has been transplanted from London's Young Vic...vibrates with truth through every flattering and unflattering circumstance surrounding a momentary epicenter of Europe's refugee crisis. Led by directors Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, the piece is more an experience than a play, physically and psychologically rebuilding a slice of life to ultra-realistic effect in the middle of Dumbo, Brooklyn." Full Review
“The refugee crisis can seem like an abstract, far-off issue. But ‘The Jungle’ drops us smack in the center of a camp of asylum-seekers — with all its slapdash infrastructure, clash of cultures and pulsing humanity...Intermingling moments of conflict and horror with lighter moments of warmth, music and laughter...That rarest of theatrical experiences. It makes us think, it makes us feel, and it challenges us to find the human faces in the masses of images we see on newscasts.” Full Review
"The show summons, with uncanny clarity, the vigorous chaos from which a provisional order gradually emerges...There is tension, of course, and apprehension and suspicion...But the clashes are often comic, and the pure energy of actors creating a world of people creating a world of their own is exhilarating...A work of absorbing theater, which uses the immediacy of that art to conjure the paradoxes and confusions of a world dealing with an unprecedented flux of uprooted lives." Full Review
"It's a stunning feat of design, but it's not the only aspect that makes this marvelously realized production...essential viewing...The work packs a powerful punch in the current political era...The play's writing sometimes lacks cohesion and feels manipulative, making it not always as artful as the production. But 'The Jungle' nonetheless registers with a throbbing authenticity only amplified by the superb performances of the large, multinational ensemble and the virtuosic immersive staging." Full Review
"I marvel at directors Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin’s brilliant control over this beast of a play and this battalion of an ensemble, while making sure that every audience member can observe and enter the action without hindering it in this tricky space...The performers are powerful and connected: when one sings a prayer, you can feel the same heartbeat syncopated across the room...The play is about heavy things, yet it does not lack humor, nor tenderness, nor hope." Full Review
"It’s a unique immersive theatre experience – designed to help us understand, if we can, what it feels like to sacrifice homeland, family, jobs – indeed, identity itself – in search of a new home. The miracle of 'The Jungle' is that it’s not a song of despair, but rather of hope – passionate, unswerving hope. Slowly, from the chaos, characters emerge...It’s a remarkable vision of what might be, if only we could learn to live together." Full Review
“’The Jungle’ depicts the day-to-day existence of Middle Eastern migrants living on a landfill just across the Channel from England in 2015-16 while awaiting asylum and enduring the threat of eviction...The drama co-stars multiple real-life former denizens of the camp. They are charismatic actors and help elevate documentary theater into a spellbinding, haunting play...As directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, 'The Jungle' navigates this territory without condescension.” Full Review
"Anyone who is capable of a scintilla of human decency could not help but be moved by the human face this intense and powerfully immersive play puts on people fleeing oppression in their homelands...To be sure, the two-hour, 45-minute production has its excesses...The drama’s success in imbuing with personality those trapped in the camp...may be its most important achievement. No weak link exists in the 18-member ensemble, and some actors offer particularly vivid accounts." Full Review
"If you’re looking for effortless exposition or delicate characterization, this nearly three-hour immersive play won’t afford it. It’s not artful as a piece of drama; rather, it’s a deliberate cacophony of voices...The piece is impressive, and it has moments of virtuosity, especially in the music...But when the gorgeously openhearted gesture of making theater for refugees turns into a show for the wealthy about refugees, part of its moral beauty slips away." Full Review
"In spite of exquisite design and a substantial production, the play itself is shaky...Despite extreme efforts at verisimilitude, a noble purpose, and a vitally important subject, the storytelling comes across as heavy-handed...substituting atmosphere for dramaturgy...It’s devastating to spend all this time in a room with these characters and in this place, and emerge knowing less than when we went in. Disillusion may be part of the point, but it also feels like a lost opportunity." Full Review
for a previous production "That you feel the extent of your privilege here is a credit to Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson's piece, an amalgamation of their experiences of the migrant camp at Calais. 'The Jungle' asks us to witness, rather than weep. It demands our empathy, never our pity...This is the most important play of the decade, not just because it covers the big issue of our times so comprehensively, but because it humanises it – and at a time when attitudes to refugees are hardening worldwide." Full Review
for a previous production "Even if you've read or heard a lot about the refugees and some of the shocking things they've been through, nothing will prepare you for being in the thick of it as the characters pour their hearts out right in front of you. This is thanks to some stellar work from the entire company...There's no mistaking that this is one of the most vital pieces of theatre ever to grace the stage, at once dispiriting and inspiring - the human capacity for hope in adversity is quite an extraordinary thing." Full Review
for a previous production "This is that rare thing: a necessary piece of theatre...If I was overwhelmed by the play, it is because it raises a host of issues and because the production itself seems a mix of the structured and the spontaneous: the evening blends order and chaos, reflections and rants, songs and scuffles in astonishing profusion. It is also powerfully performed...The result is one of those priceless evenings that enlarges our understanding while appealing to our emotions." Full Review
for a previous production "It’s morally dubious to call the presentation of such matter 'exciting', but Murphy and Robertson — who spent several months working at the camp — are well aware both of what they want to say and how it needs to be delivered for maximum impact. I don’t think I have ever seen a West End theatre’s space so thoroughly and immersively remade...I don’t think I have ever seen a West End theatre’s space so thoroughly and immersively remade." Full Review
for a previous production "Directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, it’s performed with both urgency and wit...Even if some of the characters’ arguments feel too obviously shoehorned in, 'The Jungle' isn’t preachy. Instead it proves tense, moving and courageous. A tribute to hope and resourcefulness, it’s also a sobering reminder of political issues that remain tragically unresolved." Full Review
for a previous production "Informed by their experiences from running a theatre at the camp, the two young playwrights have chronicled the desperate, hopeful stories of the camp’s residents in what is a thoroughly affecting piece of theatre. It’s West End theatre like you’ve never seen...Robertson and Murphy do well to avoid the play coming across as preachy, they let the audience feel by simply telling the story." Full Review
for a previous production "The music is the beating heart of the show. John Pfumojena’s compositions unite audience and actors through mellifluous harmonies. The Jungle features stellar performances across the ensemble...A transferred production rarely manages to achieve the same energy, the same magic as its original. The West End transfer of 'The Jungle' not only matches the excellence of the Young Vic version, it raises the bar." Full Review
for a previous production "Not to be that person, but I did – in between the exhilarating scenes of fevered dancing, singing and drumming, in between the desperate factional squabbles and tense struggles and heartbreaking stories – feel a level of discomfort with the fact that this whole spectacle was engineered by two white writers, and two white directors...Where 'The Jungle' shines is in showing the clash of world-building optimism and utter desperation behind this contested, now lost patch of Calais." Full Review
See it if if you want to see theater that will make you rethink – and better yet, take action – about how our choices affect others.
Don't see it if if you don’t want to see one of the singularly most important pieces of theater i’ve seen in 40 years of theater-going in New York.
See it if you want to know about the plight of refugees; you want to be moved
Don't see it if if you're looking for something fun and light; if you don't want to hear about violence and trauma; if you don't like immersive theatre
See it if You are an empathetic person who goes to the theater to see dramatizations of stories we are living in real time with real consequences.
Don't see it if You shrink from intense experiences in the theater, you’re indifferent to humanitarian conflicts, if you like stories tied in a ribbon
See it if You want to see one of the most gripping pieces of theater I've ever seen. Very timely and tells an unbelievable story by flawless ensemble
Don't see it if You can't get to Brooklyn. That is the only excuse not to see this.
See it if You want to be deeply moved by a theatrical experience. If you want to see something that will stick with you for months.
Don't see it if You are looking for something light and fun.
See it if you’re only able to see one piece of theater all year. It’s that good.
Don't see it if You aren’t going to use the ticket. Let somebody else have the seat to witness this all time extraordinary show firsthand.
See it if you want to see the pain and frustration and intensity of a small sliver of the refugee situation in our day and age.
Don't see it if you want a fluffy comedy or something that doesn't make you think.
See it if you have interest in refugee crises. Brilliant script, phenomenal acting, exquisitely designed and directed. Perfectly immersive. Powerful.
Don't see it if you don't want to be engaged in and surrounded by an electrifying story. You are seeking something only fun. You have a bad back. (Seating)
See it if you want to be taken out of your comfort zone and truly experience the tension of life in the Jungle. Amazing immersive experience!
Don't see it if You are a staunch broadway goer that likes things done with the 4th wall between yourself and the actors. I cannot say enough about how this
See it if you like fast paced action/dialogue mixed with poignant portrayals of individuals lives. Great acting, writing, staging.
Don't see it if You are not interested in a riveting show about refugees. Some seats seemed less comfortable.
See it if story of a camp in north of France with refuges from many countries who together create a community from nothing; then it gets bulldozed
Don't see it if you have no empathy, want an uplifting Disney story or jukebox musical
See it if You like environmental and true life plays. It is an intense night of amazing acting and stagecraft. Bravo!
Don't see it if If someone relevant and eye opening isn’r your thing.
See it if You want something new, engaging, and thought-provoking. The staging makes this show shine, and you'll leave with changed views
Don't see it if You are a heavy conservative, or are not comfortable with innovative staging that has loud noises, bright lights, and smoke
See it if you enjoy plays that have a documentary feel to it. This is a true story—and the audience is made to feel like part of the action.
Don't see it if you can't sit on a bench or pillow for 3 hours. With the action going on around the audience, you are bound to miss some words.
See it if you are interested in seeing a compelling play about a true story of refuge camp struggling to survive in the North of France. Very Moving
Don't see it if you don't like immersive theater. The action happens all around you and there is some audience participation. Seating can be uncomfortable
See it if saw it in the UK but am sure it's just as brilliant here. This is vital theater, and brilliantly executed.
Don't see it if Honestly, even if this would upset, offend, or turn you off - it should still be seen by everyone. No one shouldn't see it.
See it if You want to be immersed in an extraordinary thought theatrical experiences. You not only watch the show but feel it.
Don't see it if You don’t like the now political era. Doesn’t have a happy ending but show a message of hope. Seats are not comfortable, long show.
See it if You like agitprop, political Living Newspaper Theater. An unsparing nuanced look at the refugee crisis in Europe- and by extension here too.
Don't see it if Uncomfortable seats. Seriously. The only thing keeping this review from 100 were the benches that you have to sit on for 2.5 hours.
See it if You want history laid out before you as if you’d stepped back to Calais and seen this human tragedy with your own eyes. Powerful, must see.
Don't see it if You have a bad back and can’t get a good seat. Some people sit on floor. Also if loud sudden noises trigger you.
See it if A powerful theater experience immersing you in an empathic drama about trapped refugees. Deeply moving, original, imaginative production.
Don't see it if Difficult subject with few glimmerings of hope. Loud, somewhat long with uncomfortable, crowded bench seating. Makes a point, though.
See it if You want to see a play that vividly brings to life the world of the Calais refugee and tells a gripping story of people who lived there
Don't see it if No reason not to see
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