All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Alan Turing: A Musical Biography review – ode to the codebreaker is bafflingly dull by Arifa Akbar

Riverside Studios, LondonThe compelling life of the world-changing mathematician and logician is somehow rendered unremarkable in a drab musical Alan Turing’s life was without doubt dramat…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:24AM
Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Exhibitionists review – bed-hopping comedy of manners is a charmer by Arifa Akbar

King’s Head theatre, LondonSet in San Francisco’s art world, Shaun McKenna and Andrew Van Sickle’s frothy farce brings a contemporary gay twist to an old-school comic formula This frot…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:32AM
Tuesday, December 26, 2023

The best theatre, dance and comedy tickets to book in 2024 by Arifa Akbar, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

The new year’s hottest shows include stage versions of Minority Report, Spirited Away and La Strada, performances by Keeley Hawes and Ian McKellen – plus laughs from Julia Masli, Rhod Gi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:06AM
Thursday, December 21, 2023

The best theatre, comedy and dance of 2023 by Arifa Akbar, Brian Logan and Lyndsey Winship

Our critics’ highlights of the year include a 24-hour marathon, a standup welcoming hecklers, a reboot of The Matrix and a bus ride filled with emotion• More on the best culture of 2023 …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:18AM
Wednesday, December 20, 2023

This Much I Know review – an invigorating theatrical brainteaser by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonStalin’s daughter and a white supremacist’s son navigate their psychological inheritances as scenarios and characters change quickly in a blizzard of ideas This …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:48AM
Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Protest Song review – grief, rage and a singalong in Occupy movement drama by Arifa Akbar

Arcola theatre, LondonThis timely revival of Tim Price’s monologue about a rough sleeper drawn into activism leaves little space for vulnerability ‘Got any change?” asks a man with a w…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:18PM
Friday, December 15, 2023

Macbeth review – David Tennant thrills in this high concept production by Arifa Akbar

The staging is imaginative and expressive, and the audience is immersed in the action by hearing everything through headphones This is the second starry adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottis…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18PM
Thursday, December 14, 2023

Stranger Things: The First Shadow review – breathtaking theatre by Arifa Akbar

Phoenix theatre, LondonThis origin story has all the dark mystery of the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix series and delivers one coup de theatre after another It starts with those floating red le…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24PM

Ulster American review – Woody Harrelson and Andy Serkis perfectly awful in anarchic comedy by Arifa Akbar

Riverside Studios, LondonDavid Ireland’s explosive satire turns into farce as two buffoons parading as progressives team up with a dramatist played by Louisa Harland Two white men in show …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:03AM
Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Rock’n’Roll review – Tom Stoppard’s blast from the past by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonStoppard’s 2006 play asks important ideological questions with typically fizzing wordplay but its growling, feral energy comes too late Tom Stoppard has spoken of …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:24PM
Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Indhu Rubasingham is the perfect choice for the National Theatre by Arifa Akbar

The NT’s newly announced artistic director was an inspiring leader at the Kiln. She will bring experience, passion, canny ability – and the magnificently unexpected – to her new post F…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:12PM
Friday, December 8, 2023

Talking About the Fire review – anti-nuclear lecture is a puzzling dud by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court theatre, LondonChris Thorpe’s one-man show is more of a scrappy routine than a meaningful call for disarmament There are nine nations in the world that possess nuclear weapons,…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:42AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The Homecoming review – Pinter’s timeless study of toxic masculinity by Arifa Akbar

Young Vic, LondonPlaying a man meeting his daughter-in-law for the first time, Jared Harris brings out the dark comedy in Pinter’s snapshot of misogyny Harold Pinter’s two-act family dra…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:54AM
Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Pacific Overtures review – small Sondheim is beautifully done by Arifa Akbar

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonCo-production with Osaka company brings 1976 study of American imperialism arriving in Japan to subtle, funny life When Stephen Sondheim’s 1976 musical prem…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:02AM
Friday, December 1, 2023

A Woman Walks into a Bank review – tricksy Russian tragicomedy with a talking cat by Arifa Akbar

Theatre503, LondonRoxy Cook’s award-winning debut is a whimsical, layered meta-tale about the clash of old Soviet ways and modern, capitalist culture This play opens just as the title prom…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18AM
Thursday, November 30, 2023

Arabian Nights review – warming festive treat with bags of scrappy charm by Arifa Akbar

Bristol Old VicPart panto, part Arabian version of EastEnders, writer Sonali Bhattacharyya, and a winning cast have cobbled together a fizzing modern-day fable about the power of storytellin…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18AM
Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Macbeth review – Ralph Fiennes’ monstrous monarch wages war in a warehouse by Arifa Akbar

The Depot, LiverpoolStaged in a hangar-like venue strewn with the charred remnants of battle, Simon Godwin’s intelligent production puts violent conflict to the fore At first, it looks lik…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18PM

The House of Bernarda Alba review – Harriet Walter rules as Lorca gets a refurb by Arifa Akbar

Lyttelton theatre, LondonAdapted by Alice Birch and directed by Rebecca Frecknall, this is a stylised study in control and daughterly disobedience ‘To be born a woman is the worst punishme…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:24AM
Thursday, November 23, 2023

Ghosts review – Ibsen’s intense tragedy by candlelight by Arifa Akbar

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, LondonJoe Hill-Gibbins directs his own version of the psychodrama, creating a potent atmosphere with designer Rosanna Vize If the title of Ibsen’s 1881 tragedy abo…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:24PM
Wednesday, November 22, 2023

The Witches review – frights played for fun in rollicking musical by Arifa Akbar

Olivier theatre, LondonRoald Dahl’s villains are given a makeover with a gag-filled script by Lucy Kirkwood and a couple of storming numbers In Roald Dahl’s universe, witches are the mos…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:18AM
Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Mongol Khan review – a spectacular, swashbuckling tale of succession by Arifa Akbar

Coliseum, LondonA colossal cast of singers, dancers, acrobats and contortionists take your breath away in this epic and moving story of betrayal and parental sacrifice This show, about the g…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:24AM
Sunday, November 19, 2023

Night Shift review – interconnected stories of isolation and intimacy by Arifa Akbar

Stanley Arts, LondonCombining spoken dialogue with BSL this innovative production shines a light on the unsung heroes who keep the economy running while the world sleeps The drama opens as t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:54AM
Monday, November 13, 2023

‘I felt shame about my labia’: High Steaks, the hit show barbequing body image by Arifa Akbar

Performing naked except for a well-positioned accordion, sprig of parsley or mirror, Eliona Haines tackles labia-shaming by chopping up slices of beef and grilling them. She explains all to …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:18AM
Friday, November 10, 2023

Nineteen Gardens review – gripping account of an illicit affair’s aftermath by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonSocial disparities are highlighted in Magdalena Miecznicka’s satirical study of the power play between two former lovers We enter this drama in the middle of a con…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:54AM
Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Phantasmagoria review – scary story forgets the fear factor by Arifa Akbar

Southwark Playhouse, LondonUnsettling ideas about sinister political forces are debated in a haunted house. It’s timely subject matter, but fails to create any sense of tension Holed up in…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:36AM
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Backstairs Billy review – anodyne comedy about the Queen Mother and her servant by Arifa Akbar

Duke of York’s theatre, LondonPenelope Wilton plays the isolated royal and Luke Evans is her courtier in a light production that never gains much depth She was the Queen Mother, he was the…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:36PM
Sunday, November 5, 2023

Knocking on the Wall review – delightful domestic surprise in Ena Lamont Stewart revival by Arifa Akbar

Finborough Theatre, LondonThe third play in this programme of work by Scotland’s first major modern female playwright redeems an otherwise underpowered evening The first two plays in Ena L…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:24PM
Friday, November 3, 2023

A Christmas Carol: this safe bet should still startle us – past, present or future | Arifa Akbar by Arifa Akbar

There may be comfort in the retelling of Dickens’ familiar tale, but the best adaptations show the imagination to still surprise Has Charles Dickens’ charming little Christmas story beco…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:36PM
Thursday, November 2, 2023

The Interview review – Martin Bashir’s Princess Diana deceit in closeup by Arifa Akbar

Park theatre, LondonA crisp and jarringly satirical play presents the 1995 Panorama documentary as a forerunner of today’s fake news Martin Bashir’s now discredited 1995 Panorama intervi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:32AM
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

The Time Traveller’s Wife review – eternal romance is a bumpy ride by Arifa Akbar

Apollo theatre, LondonJoss Stone and Dave Stewart’s strangely forgettable score does little to lift this musical but there are some wonderful set pieces For the millions of readers held ra…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:06PM

Sputnik Sweetheart review – Haruki Murakami’s love triangle staged in style by Arifa Akbar

Arcola theatre, LondonThe enigmatic 1999 novel about three entwined lives is sleekly adapted by Bryony Lavery and sharply directed by Melly Still Here is a story of unrequited love in which …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:54PM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards