See it if you're a fan of Mandvi or stand up slow stand up comedy.
Don't see it if you want to see something with a plot and not just comedy sketches. Zzzzzzzzz Read more
See it if You are a fan of Mandvi and 1 person shows.
Don't see it if You want a story w/ a beginning middle & end. This is small snippets of different characters lives that not amount to a full story. Read more
See it if Revival of an Indian-Immigrant's pursuit of the America he wants to be welcoming. Cheering for him, Mandvi assumes multiple roles. Topical.
Don't see it if Brief solo show. Dialects. Switched gender roles are cringey.
See it if You want to see a magnificent performance in a one man multi character/gender play.
Don't see it if You’re dead set against one man shows
See it if you like one man shows with lots of characters depicted in a heartwarming slice of Indian-American life.
Don't see it if you don't like one actor playing lots of parts.
See it if You enjoy one-man shows. Want to support POC theatre that examines the immigrant experience in the US.
Don't see it if You dislike one-man shows. Particularly ones wherein the actor, when portraying women, tends to create caricatures mores than characters. Read more
See it if you like immigrant stories and/or one person shows. Mandvi adeptly morphs into and embodies the different characters. Good transitions.
Don't see it if you aren't interested in the story of an immigrant community. Also, see below. Read more
See it if You like Mandvi or one person, many role shows. It was written at a better time, but never caught on for me.
Don't see it if You want new insights into the immigrant experience. Read more
"At its funniest, which is often also its most uncomfortable, it has gained a new resonance...Mandvi does not need much to segue from one character to another. Sometimes it’s a small accessory, but mostly he simply modifies his posture, slightly tweaks the way he speaks...'Sakina’s Restaurant' has acquired a new, somber underlining, making us miss a time when ignorance was paired with benign disinterest rather than hate."
"Best enjoyed as a showcase for the actor...Through changes in gesture, inflection and accent, he switches characters at the drop of a scarf...As a playwright, however, Mandvi doesn't fare as well. 'Sakina's Restaurant is a succession of thin slices of life'...The play is more nostalgic than resonant: a bittersweet '90s period piece about a less xenophobic time, when the children of immigrants were more worried about things like arranged marriages than about forced separation and deportation."
"It now feels both timely and dated...The characters deliver not so much monologues but rather dialogues in which we're privy only to their end of the conversation...The play features several amusing episodes...But the evening generally trades in more serious matters as it deals with issues of cultural dislocation and assimilation...The actor shifts effortlessly among the various characters...Senior stages the evening in impeccable fashion."
"With its sympathetic portrayal of immigrants as they adjust to a new life and face questions of cultural identity, the play takes on an extended significance...Mandvi displays ingenuity and agility as a character actor. But while one can certainly appreciate the play’s heart and endearing simplicity, 'Sakina’s Restaurant' feels rather underwhelming today...More like a collection of sentimental, broadly sketched monologues than a fully developed work in its own right."
"The play...focuses on the personal rather than the political — and in that respect, it's barely aged at all...Mandvi is most convincing when playing characters furthest from him in age and gender...During the weaker monologues, the holes in Mandvi's solo approach appear...'Sakina's Restaurant' succeeds on its own terms...Mandvi and Senior have assembled a mountain of stories, characters, and dreams. Even though cracks show here and there, their work is still impressive when viewed as a whole."
"Mandvi plays all of his characters with respect, affection and warm humor. While those of Indian descent will certainly catch on to more of his details, there's a universal familiarity to be appreciated in 'Sakina's Restaurant,' particularly for New Yorkers sharing the most culturally diverse spot on the planet."
"The name Sakina means tranquility, or calmness; and that’s what you’ll feel when you enter 'Sakina’s Restaurant,' thanks to genial narrator/author Aasif Mandvi...Though Mandvi returns to Azgi between characters, his portrayals of the Hakims—especially Farrida and Sakina—are the most insightful...They’re also disappointingly brief, especially compared with Mr. Hakim’s endless harangue...We get it—dad speeches are supposed to be long and repetitive. But only in real life."
"Director Kimberly Senior has apparently brought out the best of Mandvi who never seems less than himself even as he impersonates a number of other people. It's a tour de force performance that places us in his ever-changing reality."