Underground Railroad Game Tickets

Soho Theatre 21 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3NE
Important Info
Underground Railroad Game Child Policy

Strictly 18+.

Important Information

Contains nudity, adult themes and strong language.
Performance Timings
Monday - 19:15
Tuesday - 19:15
Wednesday - 19:15
Thursday 15:00 19:15
Friday - 19:15
Saturday 15:00 19:15
Sunday - -
Show Info

Book Underground Railroad Game Tickets

Good morning, America! Welcome to Hanover Middle School, where a pair of teachers are getting down and dirty with today’s lesson. Going round after round on the mat of American history, the duo tackles race, sex and power politics in this R-rated, kaleidoscopic and fearless comedy.

What starts as a regular teaching lesson about Civil War in the US, quickly descends into social and political commentary on race relations in contemporary America, where the teachers have as much to learn as the pupils in this classroom.

A poignant exploration of one of the most toxic of American legacies, disguised as an ordinary teaching exercise.

Underground Railroad Game Child Policy
Strictly 18+.

Important Information 

Contains nudity, adult themes and strong language.

Important information

Running time
1hr 15min (no interval)
Booking Until
Sat, 13 October 2018

Underground Railroad Game Cast

Jennifer Kidwell

Scott R Sheppard


Jennifer Kidwell

Scott R Sheppard

Lightning Rod Special

Taibi Magar

Tilly Grimes
Production Design

Steven Dufala
Scenic Design
Oona Curley
Lighting Design

Mikaal Sulaiman
Sound Design

Ryan Bourque
Fight Choreographer

David Neumann
Movement Consultant

Underground Railroad Game Critics & Reviews

The New York Times Critics’ Pick & Best of 2016
“In-all-ways sensational.”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

Time Out New York Critics’ Pick & Best of 2016
“Outrageously funny! Strikingly Rendered by bold, smart performances.”
– Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

“Explosive! Fearlessly, ferociously uninhibited… the show’s most subversive quality is also quintessentially American: it’s wildly entertaining.”
– Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New Yorker

“You’ve never seen a play quite like Underground Railroad Game.”
– Peter Marks, The Washington Post

Underground Railroad Game review at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – ‘fearless and explosive’

Featuring on the New York Times list of 25 best plays since Angels in America, Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R Sheppard’s play is a merciless exploration of race.

Inspired by a game that Sheppard actually played when he was at school in Pennsylvania, it divides the audience into Union and Confederate sides. The idea is to smuggle slaves – as represented by dolls – to freedom. Kidwell and Sheppard play teachers guiding the audience in this valuable learning experience. The game is just a springboard for a bold, ferocious comedy about the legacy of slavery and the way it permeates people’s interactions.

Kidwell and Sheppard play Teacher Caroline, who is black, and Teacher Stuart who is white. The pair beams at the audience and speaks to them with cheery, eager teacher voices. The two teachers then begin a relationship with one another. He’s unsure how to talk to a black woman. Her experience of race differs from his. Language is central to this. As Kidwell is quick to point out: “Those words don’t mean the same thing to me that they do to you.”

This leads to an excruciating (and hilarious) scene in which they exchange racially insensitive comments by way of flirtation. It cumulates with them stripped bare, exposed in every possible way, psychologically, physically.

Fortunately, they never make us play the game of the title. Instead, the piece, devised by Kidwell and Sheppard for their company Lightning Rod Special, takes the form of a series of vignettes. It opens with a skit in which a terrified black woman encounters a Quaker abolitionist. Later, Kidwell appears dressed as a Mammy figure and Sheppard gleefully disappears beneath her vast skirts. American racial archetypes are twisted and eviscerated: the white man as saviour and violator, the black woman as a source of sexual temptation.

The production is also intensely physical. Kidwell and Sheppard both use their bodies, their skin, to explore the weight of race and its complex role in American identity. The play plunges into places theatre rarely goes. The shame that sits like a stone in the stomach. The impossibility of escaping history.
The line between performer and performance, reality and representation becomes increasingly blurred. They end up drenched in sweat, panting with exhaustion, and staring at each other accusingly.

While its impact on an American audience might be greater than on an Edinburgh Fringe crowd, Taibi Magar’s production is still genuinely thrilling. Often shocking, it engages with things that still feel taboo. It’s funny but in a queasy, deeply unsettling way. It is discomfiting and slippery, complex and fascinating. This is explosive, fearless theatre and it’s impossible not to be rocked by it.

By : Natasha Tripney 

Ref Link : The Stage
Venue Info

Soho Theatre

21 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3NE


Bang in the creative heart of London, Soho Theatre is a major new writing theatre and a writers’ development organisation of national significance. With a programme spanning theatre, comedy, cabaret and writers’ events and home to a lively bar, Soho Theatre is one of the most vibrant venues on London’s cultural scene.

Soho Theatre owns its own Central London venue housing the intimate 150-seat Soho Theatre, our 90-seat Soho Upstairs and our cabaret space, Soho Downstairs. Under the joint leadership of Soho’s Artistic Director Steve Marmion and Executive Director Mark Godfrey, Soho Theatre now welcomes 167,000 people a year.

For me the combination of cutting edge new writing, the best in comedy, the reputation for brave collaboration and a young dynamic audience, makes Soho one of the most exciting venues in British theatre.

Steve Marmion

Underground Railroad Game Photo Gallery