All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Gunpowder Plot review – hit-and-miss history in subterranean London by Arifa Akbar

Tower Vaults, LondonA thrilling live adventure is marred by moments of bewildering VR in this immersive voyage back to 1605 It may set Harry Potter fans’ hearts aflutter to know that Tom F…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:18AM
Thursday, June 9, 2022

Cancelling Socrates review – Howard Brenton interrogates democracy in a rich play of ideas by Arifa Akbar

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonFine acting and lively dialogue save this philosophical play from feeling static as it applies Athenian ideals to modern dilemmas Howard Brenton’s play about …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:03PM
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Rainer review – a feverish rollercoaster ride around London by Arifa Akbar

Arcola Outside, LondonSorcha Kennedy gives an astonishing performance as a cycle delivery rider with grand literary dreams Firstly the venue: what a delight this covered wood and corrugated …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:18AM

Edinburgh fringe 2022: 20 theatre, comedy and dance shows you shouldn’t miss by Brian Logan, Catherine Love, Mark Fisher, Anya Ryan, Rachael Healy, Kate Wyver, Claire Armitstead, Arifa Akbar and Lyndsey Winship

In the first of our festival previews, we round up some of the best offerings we’ve already reviewed – including Tim Key, Liz Kingsman, La Clique and Hungry This searing, sweaty disco is…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:48AM
Sunday, June 5, 2022

Bleak Expectations review – Radio 4’s Dickens parody bursts on to the stage by Arifa Akbar

Watermill theatre, NewburyThis fast-paced comedy mashup of the great Victorian novelist sends up Britishness with oodles of silliness Some may already know this ticklish literary comedy from…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:12AM
Friday, June 3, 2022

Grenfell on stage: can a harrowing new play help the drive for justice? by Arifa Akbar

Dictating to the Estate uses documentary evidence to tell a story of everyday heroism and scandalous political neglect While the nation commences its parties for the Queen’s Jubilee this w…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 12:37PM
Thursday, June 2, 2022

Britannicus review – political drama is deadly serious but full of sass by Arifa Akbar

Lyric Hammersmith, LondonTimberlake Wertenbaker’s take on Racine’s version of ancient Rome is replete with power-crazed emperors, deadly poison and juicy family politics Rome might have …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:12AM
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Glass Menagerie review – Amy Adams’s West End debut fails to find its heart by Arifa Akbar

Duke of York’s theatre, LondonTennessee Williams’s story of yearning, passion and despair never puts us under its spell in Jeremy Herrin’s production Tennessee Williams’s narrator be…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:48AM
Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Dance of Death review – lethally dull Strindberg staging by Arifa Akbar

Ustinov Studio, BathA strong creative team featuring Lindsay Duncan and Hilton McRae cannot bring this dreary revival to life August Strindberg’s 1900 drama of marital drudgery and torment…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:42PM
Sunday, May 29, 2022

Henry VIII review – even gold phalluses can’t bring little-seen Shakespeare to life by Arifa Akbar

The Globe, LondonThe sexy makeover with dildos and inflatable testicles doesn’t work and the text additions only highlight the disjointedness It is rare to see this history play get an o…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:54AM
Thursday, May 26, 2022

Girl on an Altar review – cool and deadly vision of the impact of male power by Arifa Akbar

Kiln theatre, LondonFamily dynamics and toxic masculinity are explored in Marina Carr’s riveting version of the story of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra The story of Clytemnestra is not quite a…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:24AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Legally Blonde review – joyously camp revamp is in the pink by Arifa Akbar

Regent’s Park Open Air theatre, LondonAn overhaul of the original’s gender politics, plenty of Gen-Z touchpoints and a big dollop of kitsch make this musical an irresistible cocktail He…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:18AM
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

We Started to Sing review – Barney Norris’s fragmented family ode by Arifa Akbar

Arcola, LondonA tender series of vignettes explore family dynamics in Norris’s personal play, but it needs some grit in the oyster Barney Norris has written a personal play about family li…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:24AM
Monday, May 23, 2022

‘None of it has felt insurmountable’: Amanda Abbington on Sherlock, divorce and her fiancé’s nightmare fall by Arifa Akbar

After her show-stealing turn in the Steven Moffat drama, the actor is returning to comedy with his play The Unfriend. She talks about why funny women intimidate men, her daredevil partner …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:37AM

Two Palestinians Go Dogging review – devastatingly human portrait of conflict sears itself on the mind by Arifa Akbar

Royal Court, LondonSet two decades into the future, in Palestinian territories that are still occupied, Sami Ibrahim’s play is a startlingly bold tragicomedy and a furious call to action D…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:37AM
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

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