On a day when the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported has risen again – and has, as usual, risen to the top of the news – it’s heartening to report on an evening that made an auditorium full of people of different backgrounds and ages laugh a lot together, as a bunch of talented Muslims and Jews mercilessly sent up both with great and good humour.
It’s good too, that this took place at the Tricycle Theatre and that the MuJu Crew is celebrating 10 years since it started life as a youth theatre group to bring together young Jews and Muslims through theatre. Indeed I remember reporting on the group’s early days myself.
One of the secrets of MuJu’s success is that they bring so many talents to create comedy – and musical comedy at that. They boast writing, clowning, improvising and composing experience on their CVs and it shows. In addition other experienced comedy creatives, including Chris Cookson and Dave Cohen (of BAFTA Award-winning Horrible Histories), were on hand with extra input. Another secret is that it’s often hard to tell who is the Muslim and who is the Jew in this talented bunch. For example, the luxuriant dark beard sported by Dominic Garfield proves equally handy to portray assorted Rabbis – and a sexy siren of a Jihadist, clad only in tight pants and velvet waistcoat, luring western women to go East.
What’s not to like about Israeli-type security checkpoints at all entrances to Brent Cross, the delectable prospect of Muslim women with four husbands to satisfy different needs (why limit it to Muslims!) and a chorus of Jihadists rendering 'Let it Go' from Frozen in a whole new way? And I did especially appreciate a sketch that sent up the Tricycle’s recent dilemmas with great good humour.
There’s hard-hitting stuff too. A white journalist captured by Jihadists claims superiority over his Arab counterpart because his execution will be high-profile with media coverage and a star executioner, while his fellow captive can look forward only to the anonymity of a mass execution in the middle of the desert.
It was good to see Daniella Isaacs, featured in Jewish Renaissance recently talking about Mush and Me, the play which she co-created and in which she also toured the UK, in a range of comedy creations – I especially liked the Jewish gap-year princess on the pull in the IDF (you had to be there, as they say). And I loved Amina Zia starring in her own sketch as that smug Muslim wife with four adoring men in attendance.
Everyone clearly had a ball creating Come In! Sit Down! And to add to the exclamation marks, what a friendly title that is!
By Judi Herman
Listen to cast members Daniella Isaacs and Ramzi DeHani talking to Judi (in the busy bar at the Tricycle after the performance):
Come In! Sit Down! runs until Sunday 2 August. 7.30pm & 3pm. £13. The Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Rd, NW6 7JR; 020 7328 1000. www.tricycle.co.uk