All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pass Over review – fiercely relevant and compelling by Arifa Akbar

Kiln, LondonAntoinette Nwandu’s powerful absurdist urban tragedy sees two black homeless men – cowed by the ever-present threat of police brutality – pursue their own American dream An…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:24AM
Wednesday, February 19, 2020

A Number review – Caryl Churchill's clone fable counts cost of progress by Arifa Akbar

Bridge theatre, London Roger Allam plays a father with multiple versions of the same son in a drama that feels like an early noughties Black Mirror Caryl Churchill wrote A Number in 2002, wh…

Linked From The Guardian at 06:06PM
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Be More Chill review – glorious misfit musical for the age of oddballs by Arifa Akbar

The Other Palace, LondonThe soaring joys and plunging agonies of adolescence are treated with humour and heart in this refreshing arrival from Broadway ‘There’s never been a better time …

Linked From The Guardian at 06:18PM
Monday, February 17, 2020

The High Table review – coming out and coming together in tender debut by Arifa Akbar

Bush theatre, LondonInspired by Master of None, Temi Wilkey delivers a heartfelt and funny tale of love and ancestral ties in a Nigerian family ‘Being gay isn’t something black people lo…

Linked From The Guardian at 04:03AM
Friday, February 14, 2020

The Visit review – Tony Kushner's plodding revenge epic falls flat by Arifa Akbar

Olivier theatre, London Lesley Manville excels as the billionaire returning to her small town but even she can’t save this bloated adaptation The Visit (or The Old Lady Comes to Call) is a…

Linked From The Guardian at 08:06AM
Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Leopoldstadt review – Stoppard's family portrait is an elegiac epic by Arifa Akbar

Wyndham’s theatre, LondonPatrick Marber directs Tom Stoppard’s sweeping story of a Jewish family in Vienna across six decades In 2003, Tom Stoppard was asked if he would ever write a …

Linked From The Guardian at 07:24PM

The Whip review – political drama exposes cost of abolishing slavery by Arifa Akbar

Swan theatre, Stratford-upon-AvonJuliet Gilkes Romero’s play about the battle to end slave-owning in the British empire grows in intrigue and tension The Whip takes a moment in British his…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:24PM
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

All of It review – everywoman takes us from cradle to grave by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court, LondonAlistair McDowall’s monologue – performed by a mesmerising Kate O’Flynn – channels female experience with warmth and humour Alistair McDowall joined forces with th…

Linked From The Guardian at 01:36PM
Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sex Education's Aimee Lou Wood: 'I confronted my own school bully' by Arifa Akbar

She loved her nude scenes in the Netflix hit but the West End’s Uncle Vanya gave her stage fright. The Stockport star remembers being the class clown and tracking down her tormentor Aimee…

Linked From The Guardian at 11:54AM
Friday, February 7, 2020

Death of England review – Rafe Spall dazzles in punkish state-of-the-nation address by Arifa Akbar

National Theatre, LondonSpall is like a man possessed in Roy Williams’ and Clint Dyer’s hair-raising dramatic monologue about the grief and grievances of a working-class white male In th…

Linked From The Guardian at 05:18AM
Thursday, February 6, 2020

Albion review – Mike Bartlett's thorny study of politics and patriotism by Arifa Akbar

Almeida, LondonRevived by Rupert Goold just over two years after its premiere, this subtle drama has grown with new meaning In 2017, Rupert Goold directed a state-of-the-nation play by Mike …

Linked From The Guardian at 08:54AM
Friday, January 31, 2020

The Remains of Logan Dankworth review – a poet for our day by Arifa Akbar

Pound Arts Centre, Corsham Luke Wright’s eloquent verse monologue pairs Brexit with the breakdown of a marriage Luke Wright is a poet for our day and today in particular. This dramatic mon…

Linked From The Guardian at 09:48AM
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

All that Chat

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