Lauren Booth: Accidentally Muslim

Journalist Lauren Booth’s first solo show, Accidentally Muslim, promises a journey from ‘Soho hedonism’ to a shocking revelation in a mosque. The journey she actually goes on – through life and through this performance – is fascinating in its own right but doesn’t match the one promised.

An enjoyable hour of stories from a brave and varied life

Accidentally Muslim outlines Booth’s undeniably interesting life from childhood to her 2010 conversion to Islam through engaging storytelling and fun, if occasionally laboured character work. Beginning with her poor North London childhood, Booth continues through the unsuccessful acting career of her 20s, her transition to journalism in her 30s as her brother-in-law Tony Blair ascended to power and subsequently lost her support with the advent of the Iraq War, and then – finally getting to the matter of the title – her trips to the middle east where she first encounters the generosity and resilience of Palestinian Muslims.

Booth expertly steps into the shoes of those around her, portraying her parents, those she meets on her travels, and her own children among many others. The character work is great, though sometimes undermined by unconvincing miming. For a majority of the show, however, Booth portrays herself. Unfortunately, the retrospective tone feels one-note after a while and doesn’t evolve over the different stages of her life – a missed opportunity to add interest. Her journey through faith, from an atheistic upbringing to a hesitant adult Christianity and eventually to a pious Muslim life, is fascinating but not explored in as much depth as the title would suggest. Most of the religious focus, which only really emerges in the second half, is focused on her pre-conversion encounters with ordinary Muslims, and comprised a definite highlight.

Overall, the parts of the show actually relevant to the promised story of Booth’s conversion landed much more strongly than the meandering life story that preceded them. Her examination of her own prejudice against Arabs, her deep connection with the people she met in Palestine, her attempts to reconcile her growing spirituality with institutional Christianity, and her eventual acceptance of Islam was a beautiful and resonant story. If the rest of the show had maintained that focus, and perhaps gone deeper into her experience of Islam after her initial conversion, it could have reached much greater heights. As it is, it remains an enjoyable hour of stories from a brave and varied life.

Reviews by Alex Bailey Dillon

Zoo Southside

Too Pretty to Punch

★★★★★
ZOO Playground

Progress

★★★★
Zoo Southside

Staged

★★★
Assembly Rooms

La Galerie

★★★★
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

Le Coup

★★★
Underbelly, Bristo Square

Backbone

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The daughter of a troubled TV star, Lauren Booth survives a house fire, embraces Soho hedonism and ends up being the skeleton in her family's closet. Her biggest surprise comes when she wakes up in a mosque to a shocking revelation. Accidentally Muslim tracks Lauren Booth's journey from hedonism to Hajj on a social and spiritual adventure. A nuanced one-woman show, performed with brisk honesty and sharp humour, sweeps from the suburbs of North London to the olive groves of Palestine, exploring a life of activism, the celebrity jungle and life's big questions.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets