"The play weaves between the stated and understated, casting the most difficult topics to the realm of memory and flashback while the easier, more quotidian details of life are expressed primarily through expository monologue, suggesting that while there is an acute awareness and acceptance of the darkest parts of his reality, he is still processing the trauma at the root of his being….In this way, the harshest aspects of his life are not intellectualized–they are presented in raw fragments of memory, resurfacing as he’s triggered in the present…The balance between levity and darkness is particularly striking: alternating between the starker memories of loss and fear, and then cartoonish caricatures of his sister, mother, father, and other people in his life….We had the authentic experience of watching a person reconcile tragedy through humor…[and] the jokes that made the audience laugh loudly preceded the most scarring recollections. But this is how we live with ghosts– the ghosts of expectation, of loss, and of a past that can only be evoked through art."
–Jessica Reidy & Viktor Pachas, September 2015, Cambridge Writers’ Workshop
"Amidst tragedy, Alex must learn to grow up and cope with insecurities about his strength, sexuality, image, and purpose in life. Through vignettes that take us from childhood to present day, Alex finds humor and insight while growing up in a confusing and challenging environment…Mahgoub is an actor with enough charm to fill the room…with his humor, honesty, and incredibly sincere storytelling. He has the ability to be incredibly vulnerable and open about his insecurities…By choosing to be vulnerable and honest, Mahgoub makes the strong decision to go against the flow. …This story has as many unexpected twists as any daytime soap out there, however, Mahgoub never allows the storytelling to become overdramatic. There are some touching moments where he chooses to find humor and light in some very dark times. He tackles the realities and tragedies of his life with an honest sincerity that allows you to be completely transported into his world…Baba does not disappoint."
-Luis Restrepo, August 2015, Theatre is Easy
"A lighthearted coming-of-age story about an awkward, nerdy kid from a poor New Jersey home who struggles to find self-confidence and self-worth when his hero is no longer there to protect him….Mahgoub portrays at least a dozen characters in this hour-long monologue, though, unsurprisingly, he is most successful and most moving in depicting the physicality, strong accent, and masculinity of his father. While the show's main goal is to treat us to a playful look at his life, Mahgoub creates stirring moments of deeply felt emotion, as when, on a couple of occasions, he speaks longingly of his father and genuine tears blur his eyes. Christine Renee Miller's direction, combined with lighting and music that enhance the mood, lend emotional intensity to his words…Baba has a heartfelt innocence and appealing authenticity. Mahgoub has done a courageous thing in bringing his story to the stage, and it's a fitting tribute to his father. One can't help but imagine that Baba would be proud."
-Pete Hempstead, August 2015, Theater Mania
"Mahgoub is a natural performer … [with a] playfulness and training as an actor [which] serve him well as he recounts his own transformation.. dart[ing] into and out of characters from his life…[A] compelling hour spent listening to a heartfelt.. [and] funny story that touches both on the universal and the unique."
-Charles C. Bales, August 2015, nytheater now
“Switching between narrative and caricatures of the cast of characters who populated his young life, Mahgoub is at his best when he contrasts the tough, confident persona of his father with his own soft temperament and struggles to find himself, wanting so much to be like his strong, well-liked father while truthfully being so different from him in almost every way….Mahgoub manufactures a fascinating tale out of nothing but his intimate recollections and a genuine gift for conveying raw emotion. FIVE STARS.”
-Marc S. Boriosi, August 2015, The Levity Ball
“Mahgoub’s self-narrative is one full of witty characterizations…[with] special care to create a specific set of physical or vocal traits for each character…Written with a cunning tone that oozes Mahgoub’s personality—a blend of cheeky confidence…sincerity, [and] humor.”
-Ryan Mikita, August 2015, Theater Scene