All stories by Arifa Akbar on BroadwayStars

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lennie James: ‘I wasn’t willing to let somebody else decide what my ambition should be’ by Arifa Akbar

The Walking Dead and Save Me actor and writer on his return to theatre, why he left to work in the US, and what his mum would think of his career choice Lennie James has missed being on stag…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:36AM
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Theatre leader Pooja Ghai: ‘I couldn’t sit back and complain about roles I wasn’t getting’ by Arifa Akbar

The actor and new artistic director of Tamasha theatre company, dedicated to stories from the global majority, talks about her campaign to change the industry Pooja Ghai struggled to find he…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:18AM
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Force Majeure review – family skiing drama goes off-piste by Arifa Akbar

Donmar Warehouse, LondonThis story about the aftermath of an Alpine disaster was brilliantly compelling on film but becomes a clumsy comedy on stage Anyone who has watched Ruben Östlund’s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:18PM
Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Folk review – a beautifully brooding tale of song and sisterhood by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonThe songs that unite two grieving sisters are collected and ‘tidied up’ by Cecil Sharp in this historical drama This beautifully brooding slice of English pastor…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:54PM
Monday, December 27, 2021

Theatre, dance and comedy to book in 2022 – from Alan Partridge to Tennessee Williams by Arifa Akbar, Lyndsey Winship and Brian Logan

Amy Adams makes her West End debut, immersive dance confronts mental health and Steve Coogan’s alter ego embarks on a rare live UK tour • Preview more cultural highlights of 2022 Continu…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 03:36AM
Sunday, December 19, 2021

Spring Awakening review – desire and dread in coming-of-age musical by Arifa Akbar

Almeida theatre, LondonRupert Goold’s production of the alt-rock musical has a talented young cast and some striking moments but the songs are often banal It is audacious of Rupert Goold t…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:18PM

Peggy for You review – Tamsin Greig’s charisma cannot save dated drama by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonAlan Plater’s 60s-set play honouring agent Peggy Ramsay hasn’t aged well – her once maverick ideas now look outmoded Henry Livings felt that “all plays abo…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:42AM
Saturday, December 18, 2021

The best theatre, comedy and dance of 2021 by Arifa Akbar, Brian Logan and Lyndsey Winship

It was a year of revivals in every sense, as venues threw open their doors again. From fresh takes on classics to blazing new talents and shows that captured the current moment, our critics …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:54AM
Thursday, December 16, 2021

The strange experience of theatregoing on the possible eve of darkness | Arifa Akbar by Arifa Akbar

Ladies and gentleman, please take your seats – for how long? Our chief theatre critic on her Covid-hit week Until a few days ago, I had a diary rammed with first nights. This week was non-…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 02:54PM
Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Habeas Corpus review – Canon Throbbing is back in tragically unfunny farce by Arifa Akbar

Menier Chocolate Factory, LondonPatrick Marber revives Alan Bennett’s tiresome 1973 comedy with its trouserless salesman, randy vicar and retrograde Britishness “From end to end I’ve s…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:24AM
Sunday, December 12, 2021

Cabaret review – Eddie Redmayne is electric in this blinder of a show by Arifa Akbar

The Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse theatre, LondonRedmayne and Jessie Buckley ‘Willkommen’ us into this Weimar-era Berlin nightclub for an evening of flamboyance, menace and magnetism Thi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18PM
Thursday, December 9, 2021

Trouble in Mind review – rage and racism rock the rehearsal room by Arifa Akbar

Dorfman theatre, LondonA play-within-a-play provides an ingenious platform for drama in Alice Childress’s still-pertinent 1955 unpicking of American racism Race is “an explosive subject…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:36PM
Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage review – a theatrical marvel by Arifa Akbar

Bridge theatre, LondonNicholas Hytner brings a dazzling wizard’s touch to this adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy tale Nearly two decades ago, Nicholas Hytner triumphantly staged Phi…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:06PM
Monday, December 6, 2021

‘A sense of discovery’: Philip Pullman on religion, school plays and The Book of Dust by Arifa Akbar

As an adaptation of La Belle Sauvage arrives at the Bridge theatre, the author explains why His Dark Materials was better as a play than a film – and how he learned to write for children a…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:03AM
Sunday, December 5, 2021

Red Riding Hood review – my, what weak jokes you have, grandma! by Arifa Akbar

Theatre Royal Stratford East, LondonAn eco-themed updating of the fairytale without any bite, this panto has clumsy storytelling and half-hearted smut Red wears a magic hoodie in this pantom…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 05:54PM
Friday, December 3, 2021

Measure for Measure review – Shakespeare’s problem play gets a 1970s makeover by Arifa Akbar

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, LondonThere are strong performances in this tale of sex, power and morality reimagined by director Blanche McIntyre If there is a #MeToo moment in Shakespeare’s oe…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 01:03PM
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Life of Pi review – the animals are the stars in this puppet-powered show by Arifa Akbar

Wyndham’s theatre, LondonThis stage version of Yann Martel’s novel is exquisitely designed but the wonder leaks away in flat-footed storytelling Life of Pi had a first life as a Booker p…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:48PM
Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Tempest review – Michael Pennington’s mighty magician lends spark by Arifa Akbar

Jermyn Street theatre, LondonPennington plays Prospero in Tom Littler’s production, with a bewitching, naughty Ariel in Whitney Kehinde This production brings its enchantments but one enth…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:48AM
Friday, November 26, 2021

Very Special Guest Star review – sex, lies and bigotry in suburbia by Arifa Akbar

Omnibus theatre, LondonShocking truths are revealed when a middle-aged gay couple bring home a man half their age for a threesome ‘Monogamy is complicated,” says Michael, one half of a g…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:18AM
Thursday, November 25, 2021

The Drifters Girl review – sensational songs but flat storytelling by Arifa Akbar

Garrick theatre, LondonBeverley Knight excels as trailblazing manager Faye Treadwell in a musical that skips hastily through history and lacks emotional drama The idea behind this musical i…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:12PM
Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Manor review – this state-of-the-nation satire is clumsy, crass and unconvincing by Arifa Akbar

Lyttelton theatre, LondonThere is a prevailingly saggy sitcom vibe as characters shelter in an English country house in a production with many failings Moira Buffini’s new play tries to be…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:06AM
Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Interruptions review – Stephen Jeffreys’ powerful inquiry into democracy by Arifa Akbar

Jacksons Lane, London Through intriguing group scenarios, the impressive Represent cast consider politics and tyranny without resorting to pat solutions Interruptions interrogates the rights…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 09:03AM
Friday, November 19, 2021

The Brothers Grimm Present: Cinderella review – a turbo-charged fairytale by Arifa Akbar

Barn theatre, CirencesterThis bewitching but at times confusing adaptation offers a spin on the familiar story before swerving into panto mode The Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel is far from …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 11:03AM
Thursday, November 11, 2021

Sessions review – slowly searing drama on male mental health by Arifa Akbar

Soho theatre, LondonIfeyinwa Frederick’s monologue is delivered with humour and energy by Joseph Black as a man nearing 30 when depression seeps in Tunde is turning 30 and there is a fair …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 06:18PM
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Seven Pomegranate Seeds review – Euripides tied in knots by Arifa Akbar

Rose theatre, Kingston upon ThamesOverly stylised theatrics mar this revival of Colin Teevan’s monologues featuring Medea, Phaedra and others from ancient tragedies A fringed curtain of st…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24PM

‘Tesco, how can I resist ya!’ – the unstoppable stars of stage on TikTok by Arifa Akbar

The singing sensation belting out big numbers in the veg aisle, Britney’s Oops! redone as vintage jazz, how to flirt if you’re a woman in a musical … our critic takes her seat for thea…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:24AM
Friday, November 5, 2021

The Sugar House review – a tough story of poverty’s legacy by Arifa Akbar

Finborough theatre, LondonAlana Valentine’s drama about a struggling family in New South Wales is superbly performed This is an intergenerational story which deals with the devastating eff…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 04:03PM
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Blue/Orange review – Joe Penhall’s power battle in the care system by Arifa Akbar

Ustinov Studio, BathPenhall’s 2000 play, set in the world of psychiatric care, is revived by James Dacre in a production with some riveting debate When it premiered in 2000, Joe Penhall’…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 07:12PM
Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) review – silliness and sensibility by Arifa Akbar

Criterion theatre, LondonRough-hewn but joyous musical take on the classic novel works in everything from Carly Simon to Chris de Burgh It is a truth universally acknowledged that the Britis…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:36PM

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story review – Mark Gatiss’s witty dash through Dickens by Arifa Akbar

Nottingham PlayhouseGatiss’s delayed rework amps up the ghostly effects while drawing out the overlooked dark comedy in the classic tale If it seems premature to be staging Charles Dickens…

SOURCE: The Guardian at 10:42AM
Friday, October 29, 2021

’Night, Mother review – dark family saga with Stockard Channing is a dramatic misfire by Arifa Akbar

Hampstead theatre, LondonCompelling performances aren’t enough to save Roxana Silbert’s staid restaging of this Pulitzer-winning suicide drama Marsha Norman’s mother-daughter drama is …

SOURCE: The Guardian at 08:42AM

All that Chat

Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre
Oct 17, 2021: Dana H. - Lyceum Theatre
Mar 28, 2022: Plaza Suite - Hudson Theatre
Apr 07, 2022: The Minutes - Studio 54
Apr 28, 2022: Macbeth - Lyceum Theatre