Comedy

In conversation: Barry Humphries

Aussie performers Barry Humphries and Meow Meow discuss their show, Weimar Cabaret

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As Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret prepares for take-off at the Barbican next week, Judi Herman speaks to the stars of the show. Australian actor, artist and comedian (you may well recognise him as Dame Edna Everage) Humphries and fellow Aussie – cabaret performer Melissa Madden Gray, who’s best known as Meow Meow. The pair discuss their passion for the raucous jazz of 1920s/30s Berlin – the backbone of the musical – and the composers and lyricists who were deemed ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis. They also talk about the music’s influence on the Australian, European and American music scenes and Humphries reveals why he gravitated towards Jewish boys at school.

Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret runs Wednesday 11 – Sunday 29 July. 7.45pm, 2.30pm (Wed & Sat exc. 11 Jul), 3pm (Sun only) £19-£75. Barbican Theatre, EC2Y 8DS. www.barbican.org.uk

Read our review of Barry Humphries’ Weimar Cabaret on the JR blog.

In conversation: An Imam, a Rabbi and a Priest

An Imam, a Rabbi and a Priest walk into a comedy club… and debut as stand-up comics. They tell us more…

Imam Dr Muhammad Al-Hussaini, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers (00:19:48) and Reverend Steven Young (00:30:36) tell Judi Herman about their hopes and fears for their very first comedy gig. An Imam, a Rabbi and a Priest Walk into a Comedy Club is taking place as part of JW3’s third annual UK Jewish Comedy Festival. And for an extra treat, hear Imam Muhammad demonstrate his prize-winning singing in Gaelic at the end of his chat with Judi!

An Imam, a Rabbi and a Priest Walk into a Comedy Club (with Q&A) is on Sunday 4 December, 5.30-6.30pm, £12, at JW3, London NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8988. www.jw3.org.uk

In conversation: Jeremie Bracka

Lawyer turned comic Jeremie Bracka discusses his new show Thank you for Flying Hell-Al

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

In conversation: Arthur Smith

ARTHUR SMITH TALKS TO JUDI HERMAN ABOUT HIS NEW SHOW, LEONARD COHEN AND HIS MOTHER

© Credit Here

In the October issue of Jewish Renaissance, Arthur Smith gave Judi Herman the not-so-sweet lowdown on his show, Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen, with which the gravel-voiced wit makes his debut at JW3 in December. Here you can hear an extended version of his conversation with Judi. The two share a love of Leonard Cohen and they compare notes on their mothers, both of whom are living with dementia – indeed Arthur’s mother Hazel has become a vital part of his show.

Arthur Smith Sings Leonard Cohen – The Extended Remix is on Thursday 3 December. 7.30pm. £16-£20. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8988. jw3.org.uk

To read Smith's poem about his mother and listen to him reading it, head to the JR blog.

In conversation: Alon Nashman

Canadian actor Alon Nashman brings the world-famous Jewish writer – and his father – to vivid life in this acclaimed one-man play, as part of JW3’s Kafka Festival

© Cylla von Tiedeman

© Cylla von Tiedeman

At age 36 Franz Kafka was still living at home, a petty bureaucrat, a failed artist, a timid Jewish son. Ruling and ruining his life was his overbearing father, Hermann. Kafka wrote a letter to his father in which he reveals deep connections between his life and his fiction. As he confesses, "All my writing was about you". Adapted from this monumental (and undelivered) letter, Kafka and Son is a blistering, often hilarious, dissection of domestic authority, starring Canadian actor Alon Nashman. Kafka and Son has toured Europe and now it returns to the UK as part of JW3’s Kafka Festival, 24 to 25 October. Judi Herman caught up with Alon Nashman when he performed his acclaimed one-man play in The Hague and after the performance he spoke to her for JR OutLoud.

Alon Nashman performs Kafka and Son on Saturday 24 October. 8pm. £10-£15. JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET; 020 7433 8988. www.jw3.org.uk

Read Alon Nashman on his Kafka - along with writer/director/performer Steven Berkoff and novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici - in the October 2015 issue of Jewish Renaissance.

In conversation: Jenna Augen and Ilan Goodman

Good shtick on Bad Jews from two of the stars of Joshua Harmon's hit comedy, Jenna Augen and Ilan Goodman

As Joshua Harmon's dangerous, yet funny debut play, Bad Jews, enjoys its third successful run – the second in London – at the Arts Theatre, Judi Herman caught up with cast members Jenna Augen (Daphna) and Ilan Goodman (Liam) to talk about battling it out live on stage.

Bad Jews runs until Saturday 30 May. 7.30pm & 2.30pm (Thu/Sat ony). £20-£49.50. Arts Theatre, Great Newport St, WC2H 7JB; 020 7836 8463. www.artstheatrewestend.co.uk

Read our review of Bad Jews. [link to blog]

In conversation: Kerry Shale and Chris Neill

Judi Herman speaks to the cast of The 2000 Year Old Man and offers listeners a sneak preview of the show

As flagged up in the January 2015 issue of Jewish Renaissance, you can now listen to more of Kerry Shale talking to Judi Herman about performing his live stage recreation of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner’s legendary double act, from the albums on which an interviewer questions a man who has seen the entire history of civilisation – and gives his replies in a thick Yiddish accent! You’ll also hear from Chris Neill, who will be ‘channelling’ interviewer Carl Reiner to Kerry’s Mel Brooks as the 2000 Year Old Man himself. We've also got a sneak preview of the show for you, with Kerry and Chris listening on cleverly concealed earbuds to Brooks and Reiner to reproduce their personas.

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