Play – ‘Bad Jews’, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 16th March 2016

So you know that a play called ‘Bad Jews’ will be absolutely riddled with racial stereotypes. But I must admit I really like that kind of humour- one of my favourite TV programmes of all time is ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, the Indian stereotyping is SPOT ON. So – while admittedly I’m not Jewish- when my Jewish friend J asked if I (and another non-Jewish friend R) wanted to come and see ‘Bad Jews’ naturally the answer could only be a resounding yes. Racial stereotyping and cringeworthy humour?! Yes please!
And I really enjoyed the play. The plot does require you to have a little understanding of Jewish cultures and customs (or in my case have a Jewish friend sitting next to you who can explain in a whisper what’s going on, and what a ‘chai’ means) but the characters are instantly relatable. Daphna is feisty, argumentative and desperately needs to be proved right, about everything it would seem. Yet there’s a vulnerable streak that means you can’t completely hate her, and the actress playing her (Jenna Augen) brought this out beautifully. Liam is a little selfish, wanting to have his cake and eat it too. He can appreciate what his grandfather suffered in the name of Judaism but doesn’t want to be defined by Judaism himself and to have a partner from outside the faith- the adorable, ditsy, a little-too-saccharine-coated Melody (who was as much, if not more, of her own sort of stereotype as the Jewish characters). Younger brother Jonah wants to keep out of it and not get involved but finally the end of the story reveals to us how he really has his own demons to fight.

There is some bad language in this play so fair enough, if you are a really religious or prudish person you won’t like it. I swear loads so it didn’t bother me but it didn’t surprise me that some people were leaving early because of it. The play is about young people and I thought it was a good representation of how most young people talk.

Overall: enjoyable, relatable and find a Jewish friend to take along for the jokes!

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