Making its premiere in 2014, it sold out seasons on the West End and Broadway, with the New York Times calling it “the best comedy of the season”. Now Josh Harmon’s Bad Jews arrives in Sydney having received stellar reviews from its Melbourne outing.
The beloved patriarch has passed away and the grandchildren assemble in a compressed Manhattan apartment. Up for grabs is grandfather’s chai necklace. Is it a symbol of a holocaust survivor? Or does it point towards a brighter future? Who will get hold of it? Will it be Daphna, the super-intellectual zealot, who studies the Torah and is like a train that doesn’t stop? Or perhaps it is the urbane and sophisticated Liam, who has just missed the funeral because of a skiing holiday? Then there is younger brother Jonah, who would just rather not get involved.
“It’s about family. That’s the driving force of the play,” said Maria Angelico, who plays Daphna. “The conflict, the love and tradition, how we carry it on through generations and yet still make it valuable.”
Bringing some possibly irritating ‘shalom’ to the mix is Anna Burgess, who plays Melody, Liam’s non-Jewish girlfriend. “She is just one big Daffodil,” remarked Burgess. “This beautiful, loving, gorgeous thing who wants everyone to have a beautiful time.”
Both actors are clearly besotted with the play. “I think Josh Harmon has done an incredible job,” said Angelico. “It’s fast, funny, has guts and a lot of heart.”
“It’s like watching an argument in a very fun way,” added Burgess. “That’s what makes it so engaging for audiences.” (GW)
May 18–Jun 4; Tues–Sat 8pm, Sat 3pm, Sun 5pm. Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Cnr City Rd and Cleveland St, Chippendale. $49–$71. Tickets & info: seymourcentre.com or 02 9351 7940.