All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Monday, February 13, 2023

Babygrows are such sweet sorrow: Romeo and Juliet get a gritty romcom reboot by Arifa Akbar

Romeo, an out-of-work single dad, falls for Julie, a top student who dreams of being an astrophysicist. We go behind the scenes at a Shakespeare update that swaps fair Verona for Splott in C…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:00AM
Friday, February 10, 2023

Phaedra review – Simon Stone’s reimagining flitters from tragedy to comedy by Arifa Akbar

Lyttelton theatre, LondonJanet McTeer plays a politician who falls for her dead lover’s son, but even her strong performance cannot save a tonally unsure play The ancient Greek tragedy of…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:55AM
Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Lehman Trilogy review – Sam Mendes’ banking saga returns with dividends by Arifa Akbar

Gillian Lynne theatre, LondonHadley Fraser, Nigel Lindsay and Michael Balogun are astonishing as the 18th-century bankers who helped to define the American dream The Lehman Trilogy premiered…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:43AM
Wednesday, February 8, 2023

One Who Wants to Cross review – nail-biting dread in a story of desperate migrants by Arifa Akbar

Finborough theatre, LondonThis two-hander, translated from the French, has a hypnotic narrative power as it considers the refugees’ dangerous journey Two men stand at opposite ends of the …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:00PM
Friday, February 3, 2023

How Not to Drown review – a child asylum seeker’s brutal true story by Arifa Akbar

Theatre Royal Stratford East, LondonKosovan refugee Dritan Kastrati looks back at the struggles of his arduous journey and his troubling experiences in London ‘In my country” is an often…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:53AM
Thursday, February 2, 2023

2:22: A Ghost Story review – Cheryl’s West End debut is a thunderous fright night by Arifa Akbar

Lyric theatre, LondonThe singer is convincing in the role (first played by Lily Allen) of a mother who hears spooky noises at night in Danny Robins’ well-oiled, blackly comic chiller Since…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:22AM
Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons review – Aidan Turner and Jenna Coleman star in sharp drama by Arifa Akbar

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonJosie Rourke’s West End revival of Sam Steiner’s fringe hit really lifts when the show’s starry duo drop their romcom routine Does a revival of Sam Steiner…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:14AM
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Welcome Home review – madcap sci-fi adventure spins out of control by Arifa Akbar

Soho theatre, LondonThis intergalactic show about sexuality and religious homophobia boasts a charismatic star in Willy Hudson but tips into chaos Willy Hudson’s “queer sci-fi epic” ha…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:40AM
Friday, January 27, 2023

Still Life: Flesh review – morsels of mime gesture towards a finer show by Arifa Akbar

Barbican, LondonThese four vignettes offer flashes of brilliance and smart stagecraft but feel too disconnected to truly hit home Is it too soon to see the funny side of the pandemic? A hosp…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:13AM
Thursday, January 26, 2023

Sound of the Underground review – magnificent explosion of mesmerising drag by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court, LondonA plot to kill RuPaul for dragging drag into the mainstream, followed by song and dance numbers, fires up an exhilarating show with breathtaking costumes, radical politics…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:05AM
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Boys Are Kissing review – family satire with an audacious angelic twist by Arifa Akbar

Theatre503, LondonWhen two boys kiss at primary school, there’s a furore on the parents’ WhatsApp group and an intervention from fabulous supernatural forces Two couples thrash out their…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:23AM
Tuesday, January 24, 2023

The Elephant Song review – psychiatrist and patient spar in game of truth or lie by Arifa Akbar

Park theatre, LondonGwithian Evans and Jon Osbaldeston star in a power struggle that keeps you guessing – but it’s not enough to get under your skin Nicolas Billon’s 2004 play sets its…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:27AM
Monday, January 23, 2023

We Didn’t Come to Hell for the Croissants review – wonderfully weird cabaret of the unexpected by Arifa Akbar

Riverside Studios, LondonJemma Kahn’s show begins with a striptease, then ponders existential questions before ending with an orgiastic dinner party This peculiar and alluring act begins a…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:18AM
Friday, January 20, 2023

In the Net review – a tangled, scattergun study of global crises by Arifa Akbar

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonMisha Levkov’s dystopian debut examines migration, climate and community action but the drama is lost amid bland philosophical arguments It is 2025 and the wor…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:00PM
Thursday, January 19, 2023

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? review – Elizabeth McGovern and Dougray Scott face off by Arifa Akbar

Ustinov Studio, BathThe humour is a little too clownish in Lindsay Posner’s revival of Edward Albee’s classic but the toxic power games are potent So much of Edward Albee’s 1962 play a…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:22AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

George Takei’s Allegiance review – shocking history given musical uplift by Arifa Akbar

Charing Cross theatre, LondonThe Star Trek actor appears in an epic story of Japanese Americans interned after Pearl Harbor but there is never enough emotional force This musical, inspired b…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18AM
Sunday, January 15, 2023

Irrelevant: A Hollywood Tragicom review – broad-brush contender story misses its mark by Arifa Akbar

Seven Dials Playhouse, LondonKeith Merrill’s monologue about an agent who feels she should have found fame as an actor relies too heavily on backstory and hackneyed lines to realise the po…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:39AM
Friday, January 13, 2023

A Streetcar Named Desire review – Paul Mescal brings a fierce and dangerous energy by Arifa Akbar

Almeida, LondonOne of the year’s most hyped shows delivers with powerful performances from the Normal People star, Patsy Ferran and Anjana Vasan Two weeks into 2023 and we have already arr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:53AM
Thursday, January 12, 2023

On the Ropes review – Windrush boxer’s tale of triumph and tragedy over 12 gut-wrenching rounds by Arifa Akbar

Park theatre, LondonVernon Vanriel’s extraordinary battles with addiction, poverty and the Home Office are brought to life in a big-hearted if overlong show This play enacts a boxer’s re…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:03AM
Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Watch on the Rhine review – Lillian Hellman’s call to arms is a must-see by Arifa Akbar

Donmar Warehouse, LondonPatricia Hodge stars in Hellman’s play about a liberal American family confronted by war in Europe and the dangers of inaction Lillian Hellman’s 1941 play looks …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:42AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Blaccine: First Dose review – Black voices speak out about the pandemic by Arifa Akbar

Available onlineThree monologues, told from a Black British perspective, tackle subjects ranging from distrust of the medical system to the gentrification of Brixton These three audio dramas…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:27AM
Monday, December 26, 2022

The best theatre, dance and comedy tickets to book for 2023 by Arifa Akbar, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

Danny Boyle’s Matrix-inspired spectacular opens in Manchester, Succession star Brian Cox returns to the stage and standups Maisie Adam, Guz Khan and Catherine Cohen are on tour More from t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:48AM
Thursday, December 22, 2022

The Fir Tree review – a must-see festive family fairy tale by Arifa Akbar

Shakespeare’s Globe, LondonHannah Khalil’s lo-fi retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 story cleverly weaves in humour, carols and a contemporary lesson on woodland conservation …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:12PM
Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Mr Saturday Night: A New Musical Comedy review – Billy Crystal’s still got it by Arifa Akbar

Available onlineTony award-winning musical about an ageing TV star trying to revive his career has a slow-burn power that brings serious drama to the zinging comedy Buddy Young Jnr was once …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:36AM
Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Beauty and the Beast review – Belle and Beau would do anything for fame by Arifa Akbar

Watford Palace theatreThis lacklustre reframing of the fairytale as a talent show veers into a pantomime version of Phantom of the Opera This is not Beauty or the Beast as we know them: Bell…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:18AM
Thursday, December 15, 2022

The best theatre of 2022 by Arifa Akbar

In a superb year for the stage, our chief critic gives 10 shows an extra round of applause. Plus, Guardian theatre reviewers each pick their 2022 standout • More of the best culture of 202…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:18AM

As You Like It review – Josie Rourke leads us into the liberating delight of Arden by Arifa Akbar

@sohoplace, LondonMartha Plimpton and the whole ensemble shine in Shakespeare’s nuanced romance interwoven with sign language and song A piano, prominent on an otherwise empty stage, is a …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:18AM
Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol review – humbug hoedown by Arifa Akbar

Southbank Centre, LondonParton’s music is as warming as ever but a snowfall of schmaltz and minimal menace make this Dickens adaptation sickly sweet Here is Scrooge and his crew as we have…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:12AM
Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Sons of the Prophet review – overstuffed drama by The Humans’ Stephen Karam by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonThere’s some promising material in this tale of a struggling Lebanese American family – but too much story for the play to successfully contain A patron saint of…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:32PM

From Wagatha Christie to Donald Trump: can rapid-fire real-life drama upstage the news? by Arifa Akbar

Dramatising the latest watercooler story doesn’t guarantee you box-office success. The stiffest competition may come from reality’s own high drama Just before the curtain came up on Vard…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:48AM
Monday, December 12, 2022

A Christmas Carol review – glorious musical version of Dickens’s festive treat by Arifa Akbar

Rose theatre, Kingston upon ThamesCharles Dickens takes to the stage and Ebenezer Scrooge is a woman with a moving backstory in Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s adaptation As fine a festive treat as…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:12AM

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