Arifa Akbar

Arifa Akbar is a critic with The Guardian (UK). This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (204)
The Guardian (UK)

“The production ultimately succeeds not because of its ramped up comedy but in spite of it. It will surely win audiences once again: it has entertainment value.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Under the direction of Zach James, this is a madcap show but its DIY spirit tips into unruliness with a too diffuse and disjointed narrative." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Zarafshan has bold talent and this debut is an exciting discovery." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"There is something mildly shocking and heady about this mix, and about this show. It is all over too soon: we feel as though we have been thrown delicious after-dinner morsels and we want more." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

“...it feels long at almost two and a half hours but its scenes move too fast and breezily, telegraphing the camp’s horror but also containing heavy helpings of schmaltz.” Full Review

On The Ropes
Finsbury Park
The Guardian (UK)

"This is an important story to see on stage but one that might have been better enacted in shorter, punchier rounds." Full Review

The Fir Tree
Southwark
The Guardian (UK)

“Hannah Khalil’s lo-fi retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s 1844 story cleverly weaves in humour, carols and a contemporary lesson on woodland conservation.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"If you come for Parton’s songs, you will most likely enjoy this show and the live band, whose instruments include the banjo, mandolin and at one point the spoons. If only there were more music, less book." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "The show ultimately rides too heavily on McKellen’s stage presence without working hard enough for its part to do his zany turn justice." Full Review

Mandela
Southwark
The Guardian (UK)

"The central performances are as strong as they can be given the material, and both Fiamanya and Luwoye’s voices brim with power, as do those of the chorus." Full Review

Hex
Waterloo
The Guardian (UK)

"A fabulous musical ... just a shame about the music. But there is so much originality, quirkiness and creative magic here that it puts us under its spell." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Both actors are restricted by the highly stylised roles they play, but they never become impersonations." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The production feels uneven as a whole, its pace glacial at the start and oddly anticlimactic at the end, with a hit and miss feel to the parts of the men who circle around these two characters." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"It looses its tautness towards the end, but is well worth watching with a central concept that makes this play’s questions about leadership freshly relevant." Full Review

The Sex Party
Southwark
The Guardian (UK)

"The room exposes its bigots and we finally see the point of Hutton’s character but as more plot-points are lobbed at us in the closing moments it feels much less like a sitcom than an entire series rolled into one production." Full Review

Noor (London)
Elephant and Castle
The Guardian (UK)

"There is a lot of history, and plot, to cover and at first the script telegraphs its themes. But there is artfulness in the scene switches, with two scenarios sometimes happening at once." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The issue of whether the cyborg Kath is showing signs of humanity cannot be dismissed outright; it becomes another of this play’s intriguing mysteries." Full Review

King Hamlin (London)
Finsbury Park
The Guardian (UK)

"This doom-laden world has more than one teenage funeral but the play ultimately offers hope – and a potential way out for the likes of our noble young 'King Hamlin'." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The puppetry by Basil Twist creates much of the magic...It is not nearly as high-powered in its special effects as a Disney adaptation but just as dazzling in its magic realism." Full Review

The Doctor
West End
The Guardian (UK)

"There are brilliant contradictions in 'The Doctor': unapologetically cerebral, it hooks us in emotionally, expanding in our chests. A play about mortality, it ends with hope." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Everyone should see this shattering modern classic. No one will remain unmoved." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"In terms of the drama itself, it is difficult for a play of this calibre to go awry...Still it kicks off with wobbles and appears like a play being performed by numbers at the start." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The play might have gained by spending longer on unravelling these meaty subjects, especially the idea of investing 'belief' in the goodness of new science." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"It takes the various parts of this play some time to join up and we find ourselves waiting but the cast is strong across the board." Full Review

The P Word (London)
Shepherds Bush
The Guardian (UK)

"If this is a slightly scrappy drama, it bewitches with hope, romance and heart." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

“If words are rationed or banned, this play suggests, we will find other ways to express our love.” Full Review

Sound Of The Underground
Sloane Square
The Guardian (UK)

"There is certainly sadness in this show, sudden and gut-wrenching but the joy of performance too, and it is a sheer joy to watch." Full Review

The Elephant Song
Finsbury Park
The Guardian (UK)

"The play’s mind games as a whole are too neatly driven by plot, and come with a few too many obvious stunts, but they do raise enough tension and intrigue to draw you in and keep you guessing." Full Review

In the Net
St. James
The Guardian (UK)

“...this play is filled with abstruse philosophical arguments in lieu of drama and the characters act as mouthpieces for arguments on community and action.” Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"For all its clever artifice and non-naturalism, it is the power of these performances that gives this production its fierce and dangerous energy." Full Review

Watch on the Rhine
Seven Dials
The Guardian (UK)

"Lillian Hellman’s 1941 play looks like the silver screen come to life...While its plot has the feel of a twisty crime thriller...we are so engaged by what it asks of us and its tension that the melodrama does not jar." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The speeches of love, friendship and loyalty between characters come with the physicality and intimacy of British Sign Language, as central to the drama as music and song." Full Review

Sons Of The Prophet
Camden Town
The Guardian (UK)

"The script is full of funny lines but something gets lost in the delivery." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"For any of us who think this Christmas story is over-exposed, this gorgeous re-imagining proves otherwise." Full Review

Kerry Jackson
Waterloo
The Guardian (UK)

"The best bits come when characters stop talking and start dancing, with a sweet sense of girls behaving badly as Kerry and Athena blast up the music, but that can’t save this play from sinking." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"It remains highly watchable and well-paced with good supporting performances...This is an Othello which feels unlike any other, its central figure a villain not a hero – a cleaning up of the play, indeed." Full Review

A Sherlock Carol
Marylebone
The Guardian (UK)

"The plotting steers narrowly away from convolution and solves the mystery while sprinting through Christmases past, present and future to bring about an ending of carol singing and goodwill for one and all." Full Review

Baghdaddy (London)
Sloane Square
The Guardian (UK)

" 'Baghdaddy’s' complicated parts do not quite come together, its boldness is extraordinary and certainly showcases the playwright’s fearless talent." Full Review

Here (London)
Elephant and Castle
The Guardian (UK)

"Every performance is strong, not least Baker-Jones’s stage debut. And although 'Here' does not ultimately answer the questions it raises, we are held captured." Full Review

Blackout Songs
Camden Town
The Guardian (UK)

for a previous production "This is brave and original writing, hard-edged and unsentimental one minute, heart-meltingly warm the next. A funny kind of romantic tragedy that becomes compulsive to watch." Full Review

Mary (London)
Camden Town
The Guardian (UK)

"This is still an engaging production and an arresting way to stage the downfall of a contested figure in Stuart history." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"This is, without doubt, a musical with charisma, just like 'Tammy Faye' herself. In its biggest moments – and there are several – it reaches a delirious kind of excellence." Full Review

A Single Man (London)
Finsbury Park
The Guardian (UK)

"This production – lean, inventive but fatally grounded in its action and effects – ends up proving the story’s inherent anti-theatricality." Full Review

GOOD (London)
West End
The Guardian (UK)

" 'Good' is a gradually enraging drama that makes us hear afresh the denials that lead populism into dangerous waters, and may well be a lesson for our times." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The play’s understated drama is both its strength and its weakness. We walk away believing in its issues entirely but perhaps don’t feel its tragedy as fully. Either way, it is clear that Burns has great promise." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"Ultimately a production which reminds us of the exciting potential for theatre to turn the old inside out, and make new, if it dares to." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"This feels like a play that is being given a rare chance to air its urgent and desperately important issues, making it feverish to cover all the ground in the time it has been afforded." Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"This revival more than stands the test of time in its portrait of mental illness – it is original, brutal, memorable." Full Review

Love All (London)
Kings Cross
The Guardian (UK)

"An unchallenging summer play with laughs that are just too gentle, neither quite humorous nor surprising enough.'' Full Review

The Guardian (UK)

"The script takes on too much without giving us enough, leaving this feeling like a play uncertain of its focus." Full Review