All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Faustus: That Damned Woman review – devilish drama is far from divine by Arifa Akbar

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonChris Bush’s female Faustus is original, ambitious and fantastically revisionist – but this bare-boned production fails to save its soul Doctor Faustus, as we kn…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:48AM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Sugar Syndrome review – Lucy Prebble's dark encounters still connect by Arifa Akbar

Orange Tree, LondonOscar Toeman directs a striking revival of the 2003 play about the relationship between a teenage girl and a paedophile Since Lucy Prebble’s award-winning first play pr…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:36PM
Monday, January 27, 2020

Dear Winnie review – thrilling homage to the flawed mother of South Africa by Arifa Akbar

KVS, BrusselsThe complicated legacy of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is fearlessly transformed into a radical and rousing musical When Winnie Madikizela-Mandela died in 2018, she was seen both a…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:42AM
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Uncle Vanya review – Toby Jones triumphs in perfect Chekhov by Arifa Akbar

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonIan Rickson’s exquisite production is enlivened with expertly weighted humour and a modern beat Last year, David Hare teamed up with Rupert Everett to stage an…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:12PM

The Welkin review – Maxine Peake leads Lucy Kirkwood's jury of matrons by Arifa Akbar

Lyttelton, LondonTwelve bickering, bantering women must determine an accused murderer’s pregnancy claim in this admirable drama The Welkin is a courtroom drama that sets itself up as a wi…

Linked From The Guardian at 07:48AM
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Sunset Limited review – Cormac McCarthy two-hander is all talk by Arifa Akbar

Boulevard theatre, LondonGary Beadle and Jasper Britton are excellent in this static and plotless existential treatise, but still can’t transcend its dramatic limitations There is a flagra…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:54AM
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Gift review – clever and complex vision of black Britons, then and now by Arifa Akbar

Belgrade theatre, CoventryThe story of Sarah Bonetta Davies, given to Queen Victoria, is contrasted with a modern black British woman in Janice Okoh’s play The historian David Olusoga has …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:18PM
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Beckett Triple Bill review – ticklish satire and quiet melancholy by Arifa Akbar

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonDavid Threlfall, James Hayes, Niall Buggy and Lisa Dwan star in Trevor Nunn’s atmospheric productions of Krapp’s Last Tape, Eh Joe and The Old Tune Harold Pi…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Friday, January 17, 2020

Fix review – the plumber, the witch and the washing machine by Arifa Akbar

Pleasance theatre, London Julie Tsang’s modern gothic fairytale is full of ideas and has some creepy moments but it never quite delivers Fix opens with all the thrilling promise of a moder…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:03AM
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Clint Dyer on Death of England: 'It's radical for black people to write about white people' by Arifa Akbar

He gave up football after being racially abused on the terraces. Now the barrier-breaking writer, actor and director has turned his scars into a play about a bigoted white family As a child,…

Linked From The Guardian at 12:12PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Cuttin' It review – tale of friendship and FGM still wields terrible power by Arifa Akbar

Royal Exchange, ManchesterCharlene James’s 2016 play about female genital mutilation combines a powerful social message with bursts of humour It’s a “messed-up tradition” says one o…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:54AM
Monday, January 13, 2020

Antigone review – a mesmerising tragedy with sisterhood at heart by Arifa Akbar

New Diorama, LondonSuperb performances by Annabel Baldwin and Rachel Hosker capture the intimacy and grief of this fearlessly revisionist retelling of Sophocles’ drama This startling retel…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
Friday, January 10, 2020

Scrounger review – the surreal case of the broken wheelchair by Arifa Akbar

Finborough theatre, LondonAthena Stevens creates comedy and occasional danger from a real-life incident in this tricksy drama ‘Part of being a creative person who happens to have a disabil…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:54PM
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The Tyler Sisters review – sibling love and loss across the decades by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonAlexandra Wood’s spirited story of modern womanhood reminds us that the blood-bond of sisterhood has hard edges For 40 years, the photographer Nicholas Nixon took…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:36PM
Monday, January 6, 2020

Stop mewling! Cats is no turkey, say our dance and theatre critics by Arifa Akbar and Lyndsey Winship

Film reviewers sank their claws into Cats, but is it really so awful? Our stage reviewers steeled themselves for the caterwauling ... but ended up quite enjoying it It can be very pleasurab…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM
Thursday, January 2, 2020

Star debuts and happy returns: theatre, dance and comedy in 2020 by Arifa Akbar, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

Tom Stoppard gets personal, Cush Jumbo does Hamlet, Hollywood names bring everything from tragedy to comedy … plus dance confronts shame and there’s standup open heart surgery Continue r…

Linked From The Guardian at 04:36AM
Friday, December 13, 2019

Club 2B review – get down with Zeus and Lady Godiva by Arifa Akbar

Belgrade theatre, CoventryCharacters including The Great Gatsby’s Daisy round on a Greek god in this bewildering Christmas show The setting is a cabaret-style jazz club with saxophonist, d…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:12PM
Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – adrenaline-powered Neil Gaiman adaptation by Arifa Akbar

National Theatre, LondonGaiman’s novel turns into a dynamic and quirky stage spectacular, though at the expense of the more nuanced relationships There are some hair-raising monsters in T…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:36AM
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Duchess of Malfi review – subterfuge and spying in the #MeToo age by Arifa Akbar

Almeida, LondonLydia Wilson is riveting as the strong-willed duchess in Rebecca Frecknall’s arresting update When The Duchess of Malfi was revived in 1945 after falling out of fashion for …

Linked From The Guardian at 10:06AM
Monday, December 9, 2019

Little Miss Burden review – trauma, whimsy and 90s girl-bands by Arifa Akbar

Bunker, LondonMatilda Ibini’s autobiographical coming-of-age play mixes serious scenes with underpowered comedy sketches Little Miss Burden begins as a Jackanory-style story, narrated by t…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:48PM

A tale of two Carols: Dickens's festive feast served with a twist by Arifa Akbar

This year, the tried-and-tested tale at London’s Old Vic is up against subversive surprises at Wilton’s Music Hall, where Scrooge’s sister takes the lead Charles Dickens knew he had st…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:18PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Midnight Movie review – a striking look at online liberation by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court, LondonSaturating the senses with sound, light and sign language, this imaginative experience explores whether the web can free us from our ‘glitching’ bodies In Midnight Mov…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:54PM
Monday, December 2, 2019

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti: 'My family make the Borgias look like the Waltons' by Arifa Akbar

She needed police protection after her play about a rape in a Sikh temple was axed mid-run. The playwright talks about the extraordinary upbringing that drives her Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti was a…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:24PM
Monday, November 18, 2019

Stray Dogs review – Russian poet's struggle against Stalin by Arifa Akbar

Park theatre, LondonAnna Akhmatova is forced to choose between artistic integrity and saving her son in Olivia Olsen’s play In 1935, Anna Akhmatova began writing Requiem in Soviet Russia. …

Linked From The Guardian at 10:48AM
Friday, November 8, 2019

Shook review – young offenders take forlorn lessons in fatherhood by Arifa Akbar

Southwark Playhouse, LondonSamuel Bailey’s moving play is carried along by its characters’ wisecracking – and reveals the anguish hidden underneath The bored young men in Shook yearn t…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:06AM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

'I needed a new home': how Debris Stevenson left Mormonism for grime by Arifa Akbar

Her musical Poet in da Corner brought raving to the Royal Court. Now the writer and performer is exploring first love. She talks Mormonism, trauma and teen dreams Debris Stevenson’s first …

Linked From The Guardian at 01:48PM
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Frankenstein review – Shelley's story malfunctions under weight of new ideas by Arifa Akbar

Southwark Playhouse, LondonVR headsets and a gender switch give National Youth Theatre’s exuberant production a modern twist, but the storytelling feels gimmicky ‘The human era is coming…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:33AM
Thursday, October 31, 2019

God’s Dice review – Baddiel drama has science, spirituality but no spark by Arifa Akbar

Soho theatre, LondonIn his debut play, starring Alan Davies, David Baddiel gambles on a mash-up of physics and midlife crisis Alan Davies emerges on stage to address the room, or so it seems…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:03PM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Sex tapes and acid attacks: Anupama Chandrasekhar, the playwright shocking India by Arifa Akbar

Her dramas confront the growing horrors facing women in India today. Now she’s reworked Ibsen’s Ghosts, taking out the syphilis and putting in the Delhi bus gang rape of 2012 Anupama Cha…

Linked From The Guardian at 02:24PM
Sunday, October 27, 2019

Botticelli in the Fire review – audacious Renaissance romp by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonThe painter resembles a drunken YBA in a flawed but timely show that veers from camp humour to political intrigue ‘This is not just a play, it’s an extravaganza,…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:36AM
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Ages of the Moon review – Sam Shepard bromance laughs in the face of death by Arifa Akbar

Vaults, LondonShepard picks apart the frailties of two men tormented by unspoken emotions, from marital meltdown and armchair priapism to the existential crisis of mortality The men in Sam S…

Linked From The Guardian at 10:12AM

All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue