After London Underground banned the publicity posters for this production, citing concerns of causing offence, the buzz of anticipation surrounding it’s opening have spiralled and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to see Bad Jews.
Bad Jews by Joshua Harmon, a highly acclaimed family Drama running for just 11 weeks at The Arts Theatre in Leicester Square, had enjoyed some great reviews from both of its previous runs at Bath’s Ustinov Studio last summer and The St James theatre earlier this year.
The plot follows three cousins in the aftermath off their Grandfather’s funeral. A holocaust survivor, Pappy has left one heirloom of huge significance which Daphna, Jenna Augen and Liam, Ilan Goodman both lay claim to.
Daphna, a fast talking, overbearing college student is dubbed a ‘super Jew’ by Liam and has a chip on her shoulder the size of a planet, particularly where her cousins’ wealthy and privileged upbringing is concerned. Augen’s witty and rhythmic delivery is superb and gives a certain affability to this really quite difficult character.
Liam, having missed the funeral completely is not made at all welcome when he makes and his appearance with his wonderfully squeaky clean girlfriend Melody played by Gina Bramhill. Goodman plays the overtly superior Liam with a aplomb and forces the plot to change gear and gather pace as we surge headlong into the awkward foray of the family feud.
Bramhill’s Melody, the all-American air head was a true delight and with some of the best lines in the show, added a much needed lightness to the otherwise quite dark proceedings.
Caught very much in the middle like a child between two parents, Jonah, Joe Coen who started out as a seemingly lazy and petulant teen was the linchpin to much of the debate adding just enough rebuttal to give us the impression of caring, while still trying to sit on the fence.
There were a couple of the rants that did feel a bit long and tested my short attention span, but that aside this is very accurate, funny and engaging portrayal.
Reviewed by Nicky Sweetland
Bad Jews is playing at the Arts Theatre until 30 May 2015. Click here to book tickets.