Great Game

New York: Reviewed

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 by Great Game

Extracts from the latest (8 December) reviews from New York…

The New York Times

‘As a study of the foreign presences that have occupied Afghanistan since the early 19th century, “The Great Game” is nothing less than a collective attempt to imagine into comprehensible existence a country that continues to baffle all outsiders who would rule, use or appropriate it. … The plays as a whole become an imaginative testament to an historic and repeated failure of the imagination.

‘…you always feel the creative energy and strenuous empathy that went into the making of “The Great Game,” which features a highly mutable and indefatigable cast of 14. … What “The Great Game” points out, admiringly and unflinchingly, is that when it comes to the history of occupied Afghanistan, even hindsight is irrevocably blurry.’

New York Post

‘If you’ve been wondering how we ended up there, this will bring you up to speed. … The best pieces create engaging dynamics, like Ron Hutchinson’s “Durand’s Line,” about the drawing of Afghanistan’s borders in 1893.’


‘Lest you think the authors advocate for a more Westernized Afghanistan, they dramatize in stark terms how the British, the Russians and most recently, Americans have made and broken promises to the Afghan people, actively precipitating chaos and violence.’

New Jersey Newsroom

‘The acting is very good — these Brits assume believable American accents, incidentally — the visuals are fairly minimal but highly effective, Tom Lishman’s sound design is especially acute and the staging by directors Nicolas Kent and Indhu Rubasingham brings considerable vitality to the more didactic pieces. Extensive program notes are helpful in terms of providing history and context for viewers — who really might want to read them before the shows begin.

Some of the plays are better than others but collectively they suggest nobody ever had any business poking their capitalist noses in the region. That’s probably not big news to anybody who pays attention to current events but the ongoing tragedy these dramas relentlessly evoke certainly is bitter medicine to swallow in one large gulp of theatergoing.’

See also:

> Backstage
‘… the show is smart, absorbing, and deeply affecting.’
> Theater Mania
‘The level of extraordinary performances theatergoers can expect from the show is set early on by Jemma Redgrave …’