Paul T Davies reviews Underground Railroad Game at the Traverse Theatre presented as part of the Edinburgh Fringe.
Underground Railroad Game
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe
15 August 2018
Welcome to Hanover Middle school, where the lesson is the history of slavery and America’s scarring and its complex race relations. Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard have created a dazzling and confrontational production that exhilarates and shocks in equal measure.
Scene after scene draws lines and then crosses every one as our liberal beliefs are challenged when the teachers have an affair. We, the class, are given a sharp lesson not just about history, but the minefield of mixed race relationships, there is no hiding place. Brilliantly performed, the play deals with power and sex, political correctness and racism and becomes an unforgettable piece. An S and M game in which she is the slave owner is, literally, exposing, you hear the whip of history while witnessing a powerful use of the N word that underlies the complexities of status and patriarchy.
It’s highly original, smart, funny, shocking and a play you will never forget. I worried that audience participation hater me would have to play a game, but instead I witnessed a play and performances of searing honesty. Fight for a return ticket in Edinburgh, or catch it at the Soho theatre in the autumn!