Review Round Up: Baghdaddy, Royal Court Theatre

Let’s find out what critics have had to say about Jasmine Naziha Jones’s play….

(c)Helen Murray

Broadway World: **** “Its most poignant moments are the ones unencumbered by glossy direction. Towards the end of the play a more mature Darlee delivers a searing monologue in response to a seemingly innocent question “What do you think of Saddam?” Its poetry flows with scorching fury. Each line is a theatrical hammer delivering blow after blow, smashing geopolitics and history to pieces. When Naziha Jones’s razor-sharp writing is given the room to breathe, it breathes fire.”

The Guardian: *** “While Baghdaddy’s complicated parts do not quite come together, its boldness is extraordinary and certainly showcases the playwright’s fearless talent.”

London Theatre.co.uk: *** “Jones’s play has a cunning structure that may well catch an audience offguard but that results in a work of two distinct and separate halves. The first act is kaleidoscopic and formally playful – a dramatic whirligig whereby the young Darlee does as best she can to process the narrative of her father’s arrival in the UK: his coming to terms with the exigencies of Lloyds pharmacy and Boots, not to mention the bad weather, and worse food, of his newly adopted land. Milli Bhatia’s staging risks overexaggeration which exists in contrast to the take-no-prisoners thesismongering to come.”

The Telegraph: ** “As a provocative, panto-ish alienation effect, approaching Iraqi suffering as a suitable case for comic treatment, and thereby emphasising the dislocations of geography and the generation gulf too, the tactic is increasingly self-defeating. It’s just too showily obtrusive and simplistic.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Everything has come together for Baghdaddy in a way that so rarely happens in theatre. It is definitely a show that everyone should watch but, really, anyone who has an interest in theatre should probably be studying this.”

The Reviews Hub: ** “In turns, the play becomes a comedy, a tragedy, a history lesson, a pantomime and, briefly, a musical, crying out for a solid structure to hold it all together. The writer’s decision to abandon conventional narrative forms is a bold one, but the result is a show that is often baffling.”

London Theatre1:*** “Sniffles were audible in the house as the two characters finally speak what their own psychic survival demanded be unsayable. This is strong and quality stuff. But, as a whole, Baghdaddy is a sketchpad rather than an opus of trauma and frustrated affection. In places, it fudges essential dramatic choices; leading to an uneven, but nonetheless interesting, production.”

British Theatre Guide: ” There are moving performances from dramatist Jasmine Naziha Jones as Darlee and Philip Arditti as her Dad, but Jones move to a new level with her answers which become a powerful poem addressed to the audience. Arditti’s Dad follows this with an outcry of pain. The comic cuts presentation of the earlier part of the play may be overplayed, but the writing now soars as we see how Darlee now understands her father’s pain, the pain which he expresses so compellingly.”

Baghdaddy continues to play at the Royal Court Theatre until the 17th December.

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