Accomplice: New York
nytheatre.com review by Daniel John Kelley
April 10, 2010
When was the last time a show took you by complete surprise? For me, it's all the time (I'm gullible that way). For my more cynical show-going companion, however, it's barely ever. Yet both my companion and myself were taken in, surprised, and delighted by Accomplice: New York, now playing...well...all over Lower Manhattan. Part walking tour, part improv show, part scavenger hunt, part team building exercise, Accomplice: New York is a unique way to experience the city, especially if you're visiting New York for the first time.
As surprise makes up much of the fun of Accomplice, to write too much about the details of what happens would be foolish. Let me just say this: when you buy your ticket, you pick a time and are told to wait for a call. A day before the show you get a call, telling you exactly where to meet. Once there, you are banded together with a group of other folks (for our group, we were nine in all), and sent to follow clues that lead you all over Lower Manhattan. In the process, your group helps a variety of hilarious lowlifes evade the fuzz.
One of the most important parts of doing an interactive show like this is to make sure that the audience feels comfortable doing the things it is being asked to do. Accomplice: New York's success in this department boils down to two things: the skill of the actors involved and the folks you're put together in a group with. Luckily, Accomplice: New York has put together a gifted team of actor/improvisors to serve as the rogues' gallery of characters you encounter on your way around the city. Each actor is obviously having a great time, and, for the most part, knows how to manage their particular situation so that they get out the information they need to, and make sure that everyone has fun all at the same time.
As for the group you're put together with, that's more luck of the draw. The group I was with was a mixture of tourists and lawyers (not surprising, given the $65 ticket price), some of whom were more game than others. Those of us who were game to meet new people and engage with the show had a blast. Those who weren't, well, they had less fun. Much of the show is spent walking from location to location, solving puzzles and reading maps together, so the more you attempt to engage and have fun with the people you're with, the more fun you're likely to have overall.
Lastly, the show is a lot of walking. There are points to sit and rest, but most of the two-and-a-half-hour experience is spent on your feet, and there were gaps of time when this did get a little monotonous. It's likely that if I had been seeing these parts of New York for the first time, I might have been more engaged. As someone who lives here, though, these extended walking parts tended to drag, though they were quickly re-energized by the group's next interaction with actors on the street.
However, if the threat of walking does not deter you, and you're willing to put yourself out there, meet new people, and try something a little different, then Accomplice: New York is bound to have something in store for you. At the very least, you're most definitely in for one big surprise at the end...