New Review | The P Word at the Bush Theatre*

Rating: 5/5
Running until: 22nd October 2022
Ticket link: https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/event/the-p-word-2022/
Photo by: Craig Fuller

The P Word follows the lives of two Pakistani who find each other and share their experiences of being gay today. Zafar flees from prosecution in Pakistan and arrives in the UK as an asylum seeker. Bilal goes from hook up to hook up as is seemingly at peace with his sexuality. The play parallels being a gay man in London as well as what the very real experience is like for some as gay men in some international countries.

I have really struggled to put into words just how fantastic Waleed Akhtar’s play really is. In the short run time of roughly 80-90 minutes, he manages to effortlessly three different strands throughout. The first of the experience of being a POC in a typically white space (whether that’s Grindr or at his job). The second of being an asylum seeker in the UK. And the third being the relationship that forms between Bilal and Zafar. There isn’t a second that’s wasted in this play and everything serves to drive the story, which I thought was majorly impressive.

Both actors are brilliant with Waleed Akhtar playing Bilal and Esh Alladi as Zafar, both really are pushed to the full scope of emotions within this play. Really capturing the tough emotional aspects, but the text and their performances are balanced with comedic elements as well.

I also really loved the entire design of this piece by Max Johns as well. It’s a simplistic idea with two halves of a semi circle not quite together to make a whole but revolves around, which I thought was really beautiful. And very poignant in terms of the play. Elliot Griggs’ lighting is very atmospheric and instantly sets the tone of the piece from the get go.

This is truly a fantastic piece of new writing and highlights experiences I know I’ve hardly ever seen on stage before. A really moving piece of theatre that you absolutely have to see.

Categories: On Stage

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