Underground Railroad Game At Soho Theatre: Theatre Review

Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre ★★★★☆

Underground Railroad Game At Soho Theatre: Theatre Review Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre 4
Underground Railroad Game At Soho Theatre: Theatre Review
Photo: Ben Arons Photography

Welcome to the Underground Railway Game, a saccharine classroom demonstration about slavery. Two teachers clumsily re-enact some scenes from America’s troubled past. You’re one of their pupils, but that isn’t the bit that’s going to make you wince uncomfortably (while simultaneously laughing, even though you’re not entirely sure that you should be). This is a witty play about race and the way that the past has influenced our present behaviour.

Underground Railroad Game At Soho Theatre: Theatre Review
Photo: Aly Wight

It’s a rare skill to make a piece of bold theatre that, while shocking, is also highly entertaining. The piece soon descends into something darker and ramps up to become frenetically more disturbing: racial slurs form the erotic basis of a hot date, a man sublimates himself in front of a bare breasted slave and a woman sexually humiliates a naked man with a ruler while making him repeatedly shout out a racist word. All a bit too much? Not at all. It somehow never feels gratuitous and there feels like there’s a point to it all, one that’s made with tongues firmly in their respective cheeks.

Forget discourse, this is a sound way to make an audience sit up and pay attention and that’s something we need right now.

Underground Railroad Game, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE. Tickets £18-39.50, until 13 October 2018.

Last Updated 07 September 2018