Ahead of this year’s Yom Hasho’ah event at JW3, which features a performance of Bertolt Brecht’s chilling one-act play The Jewish Wife, JR’s arts editor Judi Herman spoke to director Katharina Reinthaller (speaking all the way from Melbourne, no less) about the vision for the performance she shares with JW3’s community programmer Eva Burke. The event will also include new translations of Brecht’s poetry, all performed by actor/singers Susanne Fiore and Peter Halpin, accompanied by pianist Ilan Lazarus. The evening culminates in a short ceremony led by Rabbi Roni Tabick and singer Aaron Isaac.
Bertolt Brecht’s The Jewish Wife runs Wednesday 11 April as part of JW3’s Yom Hasho’ah event. 7.30pm. £8. JW3, NW3 6ET. 020 7433 8988. www.jw3.org.uk
Click here to listen to a podcast by the event hosts, JMI, featuring an interview with both Katharina Reinthaller and Eva Burke.
Australian-Israeli comedian, actor and human rights lawyer Jeremie Bracka will be making his London debut on night one of JW3’s UK Jewish Comedy Festival (1-4 Dec). Here he talks to Judi Herman, JR’s arts editor, about life in the Middle East and Down Under, as well as his latest one-man show, Thank you for Flying Hell-Al, in which he uses storytelling, stand-up, character comedy and mockumentary to explore life in Israel and the experience of making Aliyah.
Thank you for Flying Hell-Al is on Thursday 1 December, 8.30pm, £15, at JW3, NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8989. www.jw3.org.uk
More reviews from the 20th UK International Jewish Film Festival. This time looking at two films from Israel giving insights into Arab/Israeli relations, featuring this mockumentary written by Sayed Kashua and directed by Shay Capon.
If you loved Arab-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua’s Arab Labour and you’re into Larry Davidson, this meta-reality TV series, which has its first three episodes screened at the Festival, is for you. But don’t expect to get the belly laughs or even the cynical giggles you got from Larry and Arab Labour’s genial, narcissistic anti-hero Amjad (who finds celebrity when he wins a TV reality show). Kashua’s writer Kateb (wonderfully perplexed Yousef Sweid) is his fictional alter ego, an Arab-Israeli TV writer who has achieved celebrity status with his hit TV series called – yes you’ve guessed it – Arab Labour.
Gefiltefest featured surprisingly few actual gefilte fish, but as one of the arguably less tasty staples of Jewish cuisine, it was more than made up for by the variety of food, including dairy-free ice cream, vegetarian caviar and multi-coloured hamentashen, all of which we dutifully and extensively sampled. Beth Duncan of Stapleton Dairy poured out tasting pots of the best yoghurt known to Finchley Road, and the courtyard was dominated by the exuberance of Michelle from Visit Israel – if this radiant lady can’t convince you to make Aliyah, no one can.
Lior Raz is the co-writer and plays a vital leading role in Fauda, currently the biggest hit TV series in Israel. Surprisingly, this thriller about an Israeli combat unit (or Mista’arvim) working undercover disguised as Arabs, is a hit with the Arab community. This is because it is even-handed in its portrayal of the hopes and fears and the good and the bad in both communities. It is a phenomenon then, particularly right now, as violence escalates again on the streets of Israel. Judi Herman spoke to Lior Raz ahead of his visit to the UK Jewish Film Festival for a Q&A session following the second of three cinema screenings of all 12 episodes of Fauda at JW3.
Funny, tender and even gripping, this is Tova’s story – a larger-than-life matchmaker with a heart of gold, down-to-earth philosophy, a devoted husband and a crippling disease.
Tova conducts her business from the easy chair to which she is confined, loud and proud despite having no movement at all from the neck down, thanks to the muscular dystrophy that struck after she gave birth to her daughter Dolly. “I do everything with my mind,” she declares, and she certainly proves it in Dan Wasserman’s documentary.
The hotly anticipated rebirth of the legendary comedy shtick is nigh! Mel Brook’s comedy tour de force as the oldest man in the world (Jewish, Yiddish accent), in improvised interviews with ‘TV reporter’ Carl Reiner, subsequently made into a collection of best-seller albums is about to take to the stage. This month, Canadian-born actor, writer and voice-over artist Kerry Shale, together with the British comedian, producer and writer Chris Neill are bringing The 2000 Year Old Man to JW3 in a verbatim performance where the actors wear earbuds and copy the edited recordings word-for-word, intonation-for-intonation.
Judi Herman has been following the continuing story and was ‘thrilled and delighted’* to get a sneak preview for Jewish Renaissance and to talk to the brand new double act of Shale and Neill. Hear the podcast above or download it for later listening.
*see the show to find out where this quote fits in!
The 2000 Year Old Man runs from Monday 9 – Sunday 22 March. 8pm. £6.50-£12.50. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8988. www.jw3.org.uk
On Tuesday 2 December, JW3 brings Rob Reiner’s effortless romcom When Harry Met Sally to the live on stage as part of the Jewish Comedy Festival. Canadian-born actor Kerry Shale plays Harry and tells Judi Herman all about playing the famous role.