Tag Archives: Jack Rosenthal

Review: The Knowledge ★★★★ – A funny heart-warming ride through pre-Uber London

Chief examiner Mr Burgess, played with thrilling comic cruelty by Steven Pacey, sets his latest cohort of four would-be London Taxi drivers the task of committing to memory all 320 routes, 15,842 streets and all places of interest on the way within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. “No taxi driver in no other city in no other country in the world has to know a fraction of what you have to know. And not many brain surgeons neither.” The late Jack Rosenthal’s 1979 play for TV exploring the impact of this almost impossible challenge (70% drop-out rate then and some 25,000 streets now) is adapted for the stage by Simon Block and directed with comic verve by Rosenthal’s wife for 30 years Maureen Lipman, who appeared in the TV drama.

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Review: Bar Mitzvah Boy ★★★★ – The musical version of Jack Rosenthal’s coming of age story gets the intimate production it deserves

Bar Mitzvah Boy, Adam Bregman © Kim Sheard Photography

© Kim Sheard Photography

Jack Rosenthal’s television play, originally transmitted in the BBC’s Play for Today in 1976, passed into folk legend, at least in the Jewish community. It told the simple but shocking story of young Eliot Green and his apprehensions over his forthcoming Bar Mitzvah and his worry that all the grown men in his life are somewhat immature and imperfect. In the meantime, the family goes through all the stock neuroses of putting on the then almost obligatory celebratory dinner dance.

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