All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

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
Tuesday, October 31, 2023

King Lear review – Kenneth Branagh’s fast and feverish tragedy by Arifa Akbar

Wyndham’s theatre, LondonAt two hours with no interval, the actor-director’s production hurtles past at such speed that the depths of the play are too rarely realised Kenneth Branagh has…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:03PM

Machinal review – spare yet shocking revival of 1920s play on female criminality by Arifa Akbar

Theatre Royal, BathAn excellent cast give the story of Ruth Snyder, a woman executed by electric chair in 1928 for killing her husband, a cleverly inventive, chillingly modern update Ruth Sn…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:03PM
Monday, October 30, 2023

‘We are hardly alive’: posts from Gaza cause tears at the Palestine festival of literature by Arifa Akbar

Featuring contributions from poets, novelists and a Nobel laureate, this highly charged night – interrupted by updates from Gaza in real time – marked the suffering on both sides of the …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:55PM
Friday, October 27, 2023

After 60 years, when will the biggest job in UK theatre go to a woman? Why not now? | Arifa Akbar by Arifa Akbar

Welsh and Scottish venues have progressed, but only male artistic directors have run the National Theatre. It’s time to address that Let’s begin with a pub quiz style Q&A about Briti…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:19AM
Thursday, October 26, 2023

Lyonesse review – Kristin Scott Thomas charms in messy #MeToo tale by Arifa Akbar

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonStarry cast including Lily James and Doon Mackichan are tossed around in a plot that never gets hold of its many concerns Lyonesse has all the makings of a power…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:25AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Trueman and the Arsonists review – timely revival of 50s dystopia by Arifa Akbar

Roundhouse, LondonSimon Stephens’ adaptation of Max Frisch play about bourgeois indifference to a rising crisis should ring loud bells, but its absurdism fails to resonate There is a great…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:25AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Confessions review – dazzling drama drawn from a mother’s memories by Arifa Akbar

National Theatre, LondonAlexander Zeldin’s profoundly moving play grew from his parent’s reflections, which he uses to conjure an epic struggle for love and freedom A reluctant protagoni…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:37AM
Friday, October 20, 2023

The Score review – Brian Cox is magnetic as JS Bach in a clash of values by Arifa Akbar

Theatre Royal BathThe Succession star excels in Oliver Cotton’s play about the meeting between the composer and Frederick the Great It is promoted as a dramatic encounter between God-feari…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:13AM
Thursday, October 19, 2023

Meetings review – cooking with postcolonialism in Mustapha Matura’s sparky drama by Arifa Akbar

Orange Tree theatre, LondonIn a chic kitchen a Trinidadian couple discuss their high-end lives, but their cook, whose recipes the audience can scent, draws them back to deeper roots This dra…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:19AM
Monday, October 16, 2023

Lynn Nottage: ‘There’s no such thing as the perfect sandwich or song – just the joy that goes into creating’ by Arifa Akbar

As her play set in a truck stop kitchen is staged in London, the twice Pulitzer-winning playwright talks about the healing power of cooking, US theatre’s recent shockwaves and her Michael …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:19AM
Friday, October 13, 2023

Housemates review – rip-roaring real-life story of a revolutionary experiment by Arifa Akbar

Sherman theatre, CardiffAstounding tale of how a volunteer at a Welsh hospital changed the lives of neurodivergent people globally is dynamically directed and movingly told This is a local s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:37AM
Thursday, October 12, 2023

Sunset Boulevard review – Nicole Scherzinger dazzles in Jamie Lloyd’s radical rework by Arifa Akbar

Savoy theatre, LondonLloyd brings hipster edginess, style and unpredictability to this revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – though it’s more surface-level than penetrating closeu…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:19PM

Blue Mist review – dreamlike dive into Muslim demonisation by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court Upstairs, LondonAn aspiring journalist comes up against the difficulties of accurately representing his shisha-going community in Mohamed-Zain Dada’s energetic debut This debut…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:33AM
Monday, October 9, 2023

Death of England: Closing Time review – riotous comedy with a serious sting by Arifa Akbar

Dorfman theatre, LondonClint Dyer and Roy Williams’ state-of-the-nation series continues, this time giving the perspective of the women in its central duo’s lives From its inception as a…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:43PM

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
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