Sakina’s Restaurant
Closed 1h 40m
Sakina’s Restaurant

Sakina’s Restaurant NYC Reviews and Tickets

(56 Reviews)
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Intelligent, Funny

About the Show

Actor, writer, and former correspondent for "The Daily Show" Aasif Mandvi  brings his vibrant, comic, and heartwarming one-man show back to the New York stage 20 years after its Obie-winning debut.

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Member Reviews (56)

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Disappointing, Slow, Cliched, Insipid

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

Disappointing, Slow, Boring

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

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Thought-provoking

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.

Great acting, Great writing, Riveting, Entertaining, Funny

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

Funny, Clever, Ambitious

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.

Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Funny, Resonant

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

Disappointing, Uneven, Slow, Stale, One-person show

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

Well staged, Well performed, Entertaining, Ambitious, Falls short of potential

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

Critic Reviews (16)

The New York Times
October 14th, 2018

"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."
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Time Out New York
October 14th, 2018

"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."
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The Hollywood Reporter
October 14th, 2018

"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."
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AM New York
October 14th, 2018

"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."
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October 15th, 2018

"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."
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October 14th, 2018

"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."
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New York Stage Review
October 14th, 2018

"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."
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October 31st, 2018

"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."
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Theatre is Easy
October 16th, 2018

“Mandvi brings his funny, poignant and timely one-man show about Indian immigrants in NYC back...Although there are a few instances where it isn’t immediately apparent which character he has suddenly transformed into, Mandvi handles the transitions deftly, some characters feel more lived-in than others...’Sakina's Restaurant’ serves as a welcome antidote to the anti-immigrant vitriol coming out of the White House and cropping up across the country."
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October 14th, 2018

“Although the solo-play has its humorous moments, it is far from lighthearted...Mandvi morphs from one character to another with quicksilver speed...There are plenty of laughs. But some of the most powerful moments are serious...Traditional Indian stories interspersed into the piece serve as the theatrical glue to hold the disparate scenes together...It no doubt had cultural significance when it was staged off Broadway two decades ago. But it has gained a new painful pertinence."
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Front Row Center
October 15th, 2018

“There is a lot of yes, yes, yes as we empathize with these characters’ journeys. There is not, however, some specific element that ties them all together...Although Mandvi is a mercurial actor, sincere and possession a kind of innocence that you cannot fake, he never transcends the sadness of the material...He makes the cardinal error of repeating the lines of the unseen characters so that we can understand what is going on. This is a fantastically unnecessary element.”
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Theatre's Leiter Side
October 25th, 2018

“We get not only the conventional examples of culture shock so many immigrants have experienced but also insights into the aspirations and disappointments of the family for which Agzi works...While some moments are deeply emotional, Mandvi's performance is largely comedic, often broadly so…Culture clashes can make for fine comedy, as so many plays and movies have demonstrated, but 'Sakina's Restaurant' too often seems clichéd, offering little we haven't seen or heard already.”
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Times Square Chronicles
October 18th, 2018

“’Sakina’s Restaurant’ is full of heart...It is fresh, witty and has much to share...Senior breaks the fourth wall and allows us to really get to know each of these characters flaws and all. She brings out Mandvi’s sensitivity...With just a scarf, a tube dress, a hat, a coat, Mandvi blends in and out of each of these individuals, so that by the end of the play we feel as if we know each one...An important play as it shows Muslim life without the politically and socially ‘PC’ issues of today.”
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Diandra Reviews it All
October 16th, 2018

“'Sakina’s Restaurant' beautifully and hilariously observes what happens to individuals when they feel they do not have a land to call their own. This wise, impactful observation sneaks up on you in-between physical comedy and brief, moral myths. No matter what, Aasif Mandvi magically uses his time, presence, and the stage as evidence that his talent goes beyond smart laughs; it weaves tales with enlightening, human commentary.”
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The Wrap
October 14th, 2018

"The Mumbai-born performer seamlessly transitions into a half dozen different characters before our eyes, giving each a unique posture and vocal inflection that summons their individual personalities...It’s tour-de-force acting...It’s a pity that Mandvi’s script...doesn’t quite match the depth and dramatic power of his performance...Since Mandvi’s confident performance smooths over many of the rough edges of his script, 'Sakina’s Restaurant' delivers a mostly satisfying meal."
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Off Off Online
October 16th, 2018

“Senior engages the audience from the first beat of ‘Sakina’s Restaurant’....Azgi’s likability is a big part of the success of this play, in which Mandvi also portrays five other characters...His sensitivity and sincerity carry him seamlessly out of one character, into the next...A layer of cultural Indian references also helps infuse the production with exotic flavors, fragrances and humor...With eyes closed, you might not realize that ‘Sakina’s Restaurant’ is a solo performance.”
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