All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Lotus Beauty review – salon-set social issues drama only goes skin deep by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonSatinder Kaur Chohan’s all-female play raises serious issues affecting women in London’s south Asian community, but the confused, sitcomy tone is frustratingly l…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:07PM
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Antigone review – an explosive hour of fireworks by Arifa Akbar

Available onlineThe music and visual effects dazzle in this 2018 update of Sophocles’ tragedy from the Classical Theatre of Harlem It is ironic that this production reconceptualises Sophoc…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:12AM
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

My Fair Lady review – perfectly elegant, ever so sedate by Arifa Akbar

Coliseum, LondonEliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins are back in a time capsule of nice frocks, great tunes and comic bickering – but it’s solid not spectacular This garlanded production of…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:48PM

The House of Shades review – Anne-Marie Duff gives a toxic tour de force by Arifa Akbar

Almeida, LondonBeth Steel’s ambitious new play follows the Webster family over decades, with Duff as a thwarted singer This is an intergenerational family drama, inspired by Greek myth, wi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:33AM
Friday, May 13, 2022

The Breach review – a shocking and perplexing tale of abuse and power by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonQuestions of consent, violation and trauma go unanswered in this stolid staging of Naomi Wallace’s oblique drama The Breach is packed full of shocks. A story of d…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:42AM
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Unchain Me review – Dostoevsky inspires secret mission on the streets of Brighton by Arifa Akbar

Brighton festivaldreamthinkspeak’s timely new production on inequality and abuse of political power offers its audience a choice: complicity or compliance? We are instructed to meet at a …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24PM
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Orlando review – make a date for Virginia Woolf’s puckish time traveller by Arifa Akbar

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonSmart, funny adaptation of Woolf’s exploration of multiple selves is pint-sized but faithful, and Taylor McClaine is excellent as the titular lead A list of pr…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24PM
Monday, May 9, 2022

Juniper and Jules review – this funny and sweet romance is a must-see by Arifa Akbar

Soho theatre, LondonFeaturing scintillating performances, Stephanie Martin’s play sidesteps schmaltz with bold and sharply original verve This is a girl-meets-girl story of two women flirt…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18AM
Sunday, May 8, 2022

House of Ife review – buried secrets unearthed by grief by Arifa Akbar

Bush theatre, London A family gathers following a son’s death to tackle unfinished business provoked by cultural tensions and an absent father, in Beru Tessema’s absorbing play House of …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18AM
Friday, May 6, 2022

Age of Rage review – ancient Greek tragedy explodes into our times by Arifa Akbar

Barbican, LondonWhile the emotional complexities remain, Ivo van Hove’s high-octane makeover featuring unrelenting pyrotechnics and riveting performances is a visual epic The fires are bei…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:33AM
Thursday, May 5, 2022

Middle review – marital and midlife reckoning brings gags and gripes by Arifa Akbar

Dorfman theatre, LondonGentle comedy leavens David Eldridge’s sequel about a couple mired in the swamps of regrets and resentments ‘What’s wrong?” says a husband to his wife when he …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:03AM
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Theatre criticism is a quick and dirty act – our views change and so do plays | Arifa Akbar by Arifa Akbar

A two-star show has the potential to be turned into a five-star hit – as I learned on a recent trip to the Royal Court I went to see a play for the second time recently and changed my mind…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:12PM

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep review – disjointed bedtime stories by Arifa Akbar

Southwark Playhouse, LondonViSiBLE Theatre Ensemble’s play underexplores the effects of insomnia on its characters, who deliver a series of fragmented monologues A play about insomnia is …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:42AM
Sunday, May 1, 2022

Much Ado About Nothing review – gaiety abounds in the Globe’s great garden party by Arifa Akbar

Globe Theatre, LondonLucy Bailey’s ambling production of Shakespeare’s comedy, set in northern Italy on the eve of Mussolini’s defeat, exudes pastoral elegance and feels like the start…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:03PM
Friday, April 29, 2022

Jerusalem review – Mark Rylance’s riveting return as ‘Rooster’ Byron by Arifa Akbar

Apollo theatre, LondonProblematic gags limit the power of Jez Butterworth’s layered drama about myths and Englishness but the lead performance still astonishes Full disclosure: I did not l…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:42PM
Thursday, April 28, 2022

Viola Davis says critics ‘serve no purpose’ but we do – and it’s not to sell tickets | Arifa Akbar by Arifa Akbar

The actor’s response to criticism of The First Lady is astonishingly thin-skinned and misses our role in building dialogue and serving readers It’s hard to see your idols torn down unfai…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:42AM
Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Prima Facie review – Jodie Comer on formidable form in roaring drama by Arifa Akbar

Harold Pinter theatre, LondonThe Killing Eve star makes a masterful West End debut in Suzie Miller’s play about sexual assault and the legal system Jodie Comer’s West End stage debut is …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:36PM

Keli review – music, mining and a maelstrom of emotions in brass band drama by Arifa Akbar

Available onlineWorking-class history and a young woman’s story combine in this audio drama from the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh Keli is a three-part audio drama about brass band contests and …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:48AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2022

‘You don’t have to be invited – you do it’: Beth Steel on her working-class family epic by Arifa Akbar

The playwright reflects on the importance of difficult conversations, putting female characters centre-stage and reading a Greek tragedy a day to write The House of Shades In 2016, Beth Stee…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:33AM
Monday, April 25, 2022

The Straw Chair review – a shocking 18th-century story of injustice by Arifa Akbar

Finborough theatre, LondonThis slow-moving drama inspired by the life of Lady Grange explores the historical control of women and changing attitudes to mental health The little-known story o…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:48AM

Maria Callas: Letters and Memoirs review – Monica Bellucci’s homage to a superstar by Arifa Akbar

Her Majesty’s theatre, LondonThe Italian actor delivers an elegant but eccentric show that can’t quite decide who it’s for: opera aficionados or initiates It is a thrilling pairing on …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Corn Is Green review – an inspirational heart-warmer in praise of grammar school education by Arifa Akbar

National Theatre, LondonEmlyn Williams’ 1938 play is a kind of Billy Elliot of the Valleys: the old-fashioned but hugely entertaining and affecting story of a Welsh miner’s son who escap…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 05:33AM
Friday, April 22, 2022

Marys Seacole review – mystifying drama about caring through the ages by Arifa Akbar

Donmar Warehouse, LondonDespite strong performances, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play zigzags so much that it overshadows the remarkable life at its centre The provocations and final controver…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:42AM
Thursday, April 21, 2022

Punchdrunk: The Burnt City review – spectacle eclipses story in siege of Troy epic by Arifa Akbar

One Cartridge Place, LondonThis immersive retelling of Greek tragedies is stylish and atmospheric but lacks narrative momentum and its scattered scenes can be frustratingly arcane It is imme…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:33PM

Grimeboy review – a pair of battling MCs become allies by Arifa Akbar

Birmingham RepCasey Bailey’s moving, emotionally honest grime musical grows in power and has its own poetic, street-smart presence Grimeboy starts off with a deceptive lightness as a comin…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:12PM
Monday, April 18, 2022

The Hound of the Baskervilles review – tongue-in-cheek sleuthing by Arifa Akbar

Available onlineThe canine curse is given a comic makeover, sapping the story of its terror but bringing laughs and charming energy from the cast of three Arthur Conan Doyle’s sinister tal…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:24AM
Sunday, April 17, 2022

Princess Essex review – Anne Odeke gives spark to Black British history lesson by Arifa Akbar

Bush theatre, LondonThe performer of this one-woman play steers through multiple characters with charm, but is held back by a story that is less than the sum of its parts Princess Dinubolu o…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:33AM
Friday, April 15, 2022

Scandaltown review – smut and silliness in modern Restoration comedy by Arifa Akbar

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonMike Bartlett’s rambunctious capers with types including Lady Susan Climber and Matt Eton MP are great fun if not exactly stinging satire In Mike Bartlett’s ramb…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:36AM
Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wolf Cub review – seismic southern gothic has grit, gore and magic realism by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonClaire Latham is utterly arresting as a traumatised woman, surrounded by violence, who transforms into a wolf This monologue, by a woman from the deep south of the U…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Tapped review – inside the funny-sad world of the Go Get It! group by Arifa Akbar

Theatre503, LondonA mother-daughter confrontation at a motivational speaker’s coaching session raises urgent questions about mental health A play about a self-help circle can usually guara…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:24AM
Monday, April 11, 2022

The Olivier awards toasted theatre’s winning can-do spirit through the pandemic by Arifa Akbar

Cabaret and Life of Pi were deservedly recognised on a night that could have spread the love more widely and often favoured comforting shows Full list of winners It began with the host Jason…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:12PM