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The P Word

The P Word

By Waleed Akhtar
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781839040948, 72 pages, September 2022


Zafar flees homophobic persecution in Pakistan to seek asylum in the UK. Londoner Bilal (or Billy as he prefers to be known) is ground down by years of Grindr and the complexity of being a brown gay man.

In Soho, at 2 a.m., parallel worlds collide – and Zafar and Billy's lives are about to change forever.

The P Word is Waleed Akhtar's sharp-witted and devastating play charting the parallel lives of two gay Pakistani men as they negotiate everything from casual hook-ups to the UK's hostile environment.

A story of who wins in the luck of life's draw, it was premiered at the Bush Theatre, London, in 2022, directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike.


"A love story of heat and heart... Akhtar's script is self-aware and sprinkled with humour... thrillingly moving."

- The Stage

"Tremendous, gorgeous, devastating... The P Word is heart-meltingly lovely, full of faith in the transformative power of love and friendship."

- Time Out

"A tightly woven blend of acute observational humour, heartstopping drama, and chilling social commentary; Akhtar has so much to say, and somehow he manages to express himself with great skill and heart in approximately 80 minutes of stage time... truly magical... a fantastic piece of new writing... As far as I'm concerned, the P is for perfection."

- Broadway World

"Part gay Bollywood romcom, part nail-biting thriller... an uplifting, heartwarming and incredibly funny piece of theatre."

- Theatre Weekly

"A beautifully wrought two-hander... Impressively heartfelt... Akhtar's writing is beautiful in its playfulness and precision... the Bollywood-style romantic ending is delivered brilliantly, so beautifully done you won't be afraid to cry... a perfect balance of joy and gloom... genuinely urgent and moving."

- Arts Desk

"An irresistible romance and so much more... a bewitching love story that raises urgent issues... the story has an irresistible quality that makes us believe in it and we are swept along... a drama with hope, romance and heart."

- Guardian

"A tremendous two-man rom-com."

- The Times