Afghanistan Is Not Funny by Henry Naylor

Theatre (true-life, drama)

  • Gilded Balloon Teviot - Dining Room
  • 16:00
  • Aug 18-29
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Gilded Balloon and Redbeard Theatre presents
  • Warnings and additional info: Strong language/swearing
  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    Signed Performance
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


In 2002, whilst researching a comedy, triple-Fringe First winner Henry Naylor and two-time Scottish Press Photographer of the Year Sam Maynard, went to the Afghan war zone. An extraordinary tale ensued in which they were threatened by a war criminal, captured by the Mujahideen and nearly blown up by the Taliban. Performed by Naylor himself, the show takes us back to the start of the modern Afghan tragedy. It comes direct from the Adelaide Fringe, where it won twelve five-star reviews and two major awards. European Premiere.

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    Signed Performance
  • Accessible entry: Entrance via level access after taking stairs or lift to level 2.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access, Lift (Building Lift)

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

Signed performances

  • Dates: 21 August
  • Interpreter: Katrina Mceachran - Not Selected
  • Type: BSL
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team to book your tickets and request any specific seating requests in relation to the location of the interpeter.

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

stephen wilson 28 days ago

Had the potential to be an exposé of the real Afghanistan rather than the sanitised one portrayed in mainstream media. Instead it was an autobiographical account of the challenges the narrator had in getting commissions or regular radio slots. His trip out to Afghanistan felt a vehicle to this end rather than an opportunity to open eyes to the continuing horrors for ordinary people there trying to live lives. His visit there felt exploitative and no more so than the final photograph of the haunted child. Rather than packing a final punch, it felt voyeuristic in the extreme and made me feel uncomfortable that this child’s dignity was further eroded with her bring photographed for commercial theatre.

Julie Phillips 35 days ago

A passionate and emotional account of the war in Afghanistan. 5* A thought provoking show.

James Gordon 35 days ago

Tries to deal honestly with complex moral issues arising from complex situations, largely succeeds, and is often funny in the process. At the end, after a mea culpa or two, he finds an ingenious, deliberately uncomfortable way of confronting 'us' with the same dilemmas. Do we laugh? Do we cry? Do we applaud? Do we 'do something' and, if so, what?

Sarah Cossey 36 days ago

Very emotional and informative performance, thought provoking and touching

Crispian Denby 37 days ago

You don’t often see such impassioned delivery. I was pinned to my seat by this and my attention did not wander even for a second.

Chris Gilbert 37 days ago

This is a heartfelt and at times hard hitting show performed confidently and effectively by a seasoned performer.

Fenella 42 days ago

Very hard hitting but great Show. Well worth seeing and so interesting to see how Henry's view of Afghanistan changed. A talented performer

Elizabeth Parkin 44 days ago

Found out a lot about the trials and tribulations of the author trying to get rich but little about Afghanistan. He's making money out of a trip 20 years ago that lasted a few days and leaves you with a haunting image. That's the real story but you don't find out about Afghanistan. Would not recommended. Not informative.

Robert Scarr 45 days ago

Hard hitting fast paced harrowing- makes you think. Go see it

Maria Gray 51 days ago

Having seen Angel in 2019 and being deeply moved by it, I had to see this. Hard to review this, a travel log venturing into dangerous territory. Glad I saw this. Didn’t expect the overwhelming emotion at its conclusion.

James Damji-Laurenson 51 days ago


MMC 54 days ago

Very good show providing light hearted moments mixed into the seriousness of the subject at hand. It was clear to see Naylor's passion to do the subject justice and help his audience to see beyond war propaganda.
Have always wanted to see one of his shows and was not disappointed.
Hoping will get to see his other show Angel

Alison Cuthbert 56 days ago

This won't be everyone's cup of tea for all sorts of reasons but I liked it. Go and see what you think.

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 33 days ago

'There are moments in his writing that simply arrest the soul... Naylor's show provides a vivid and necessary reminder of the West's profound complicity in a tragedy we have no right to forget.

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The Telegraph (4/5 stars) 36 days ago

An admirable hour that confirms the battle-hardened survivor of the entertainment rat-race as a top-notch story-teller

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theatreextra (5/5 stars) 36 days ago

To sum it up in three words: absolutely f***ing brilliant.

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Theatre Travels 42 days ago

Though true that plays about war are seldom funny, Henry Naylor’s Afghanistan is Not Funny offers a clever and thought provoking balance between the urgency that comes with sharing an important story, and a healthy dose of humour.

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One4Review (5/5 stars) 43 days ago

The play is not without its amusing moments and Henry is an engaging story teller. He had the audience in the palm of his hand, and the final image he uses to end his play will stay with me for a long time. Its not an easy hour, but essential viewing, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Voice Magazine (4/5 stars) 44 days ago

Naylor had created this entire show just so we could feel empathy for people who live half way across the world. He's right, Afghanistan is not funny. But his show manages to be without being condescending or disrespectful; I would recommend you watch with an open mind.

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The List (3/5 stars) 46 days ago

Naylor is a talented comedian and his commanding stage presence combined with his personal attachment to the material, gives the show a gravity it would lack in less able hands.

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The Stage (4/5 stars) 46 days ago

Remarkable return to form.

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British Theatre Guide (5/5 stars) 47 days ago

Everybody should see this play.

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Everything Theatre (4/5 stars) 50 days ago

Henry Naylor is a master of topical comedy and political drama. Fresh from the Adelaide Fringe, where it won twelve five-star reviews and two major awards, I rush to the Gilded Balloon to see what all the fuss is about; and I am not surprised.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.