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
"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 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
"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
"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 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 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 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 care about the plight of refugees & want to see true story portrayed by refugees from many countries
Don't see it if you prefer not to think about the plight of refugees or to feel teary
Also The tranformation of the theater immerses you in the camp experience.
See it if an exceedingly timely and relevant play about refugees. A must see. Exceptional staging, direction, and acting.
Don't see it if you can't sit uncomfortably for almost 3 hours in chairs/benches/floors.
See it if you enjoy political and/or environmentally staged pieces. Very relevant and a good conversation started. Wonderful cast.
Don't see it if you can't handle being in the middle of the action. Check trigger warnings if you're sensitive
See it if you want to be jolted into considering the plight of migrants in a way you never have considered it before.
Don't see it if you like a clear separation of the space for the audience from the space for the performer.
See it if An important eye opening play. Really absorbs you into the setting. Performances are extremely realistic. Great production.
Don't see it if You aren't willing to sit for almost 3 hours in unconventional seating. In the end it's worth it however the show could be a little shorter
See it if You want to see politically themed theater concerning immigration/refugees presented in a thoughtful and moving way.
Don't see it if You voted for our national nightmare, Trump.
See it if if you want to be jolted out of your seat and made to care. This is a masterpiece that should be seen by everyone.
Don't see it if nope. Go! If you think you aren't interested in the subject matter then that's even more reason to go.
See it if .... do yourself a favor. Just see it.
Don't see it if you’re not human...if you lack compassion and empathy. Seriously why are you still reading this? Go buy a ticket NOW.
See it if You care about good theater, about human rights, want to see extraordinary acting, writing and staging, and want to be haunted. Stunning.
Don't see it if You don’t like politics in theater, want a feel good show, don’t want to question what you can do to change a life, or just want to laugh.
See it if you like immersive works that make you think and feel. The staging, acting, writing are all excellent. Timely and relevant.
Don't see it if you don't care about refugees, or don't like in-your-face theater. Seats are somewhat uncomfortable and it's a long show.
See it if you care about the politics of refugee issues; or you simply want to enjoy a real piece of immersive theater--it really gives you "shock"
Don't see it if you don't enjoy looking backward and forward;
See it if This is so different from what 90% of the people attending 90% of what's reviewed on S-S SEE - in entirely good ways - that it is MUST SEE!
Don't see it if You deplore being dubiously manipulated, however good the cause. (more on that in overflow) I'd also criticize St.A for anti-audience things
See it if you want a unique theatrical experience that is chocked full of relevance. Wonderful acting and creative staging
Don't see it if you don't like "in-your-face" theatre. it's very intimate and intense.
See it if You want an in the round experience of a compelling refugee story with strong performances. One big plot flaw hurt it (see more).
Don't see it if You don’t like odd non proscenium spaces. My seat hurt after a while. And by gosh RUN to coat check after or you’ll be there forever.
See it if you are interested and concerned about the refugee problem and the helplessness and hopelessness of people fleeing the past without a future
Don't see it if the intensity of dispair and hopelessness is overwhelming for you. This is an in-your-face experience that cannot be avoided or tempered
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