Category Archives: Theatre

RIP Peter Shaffer

Peter Shaffer

Obituraries;PEter Shaffer 1980
The Guardian
The New York TImes
Jewish Chronicle


Joseph Kessler’s Pavillion Theatre


Performances began at the Pavilion Theatre in Whitechapel in the early 1890s. By 1906 it had become established as the home of Yiddish theatre in London, and remained popular into the mid-1930s. Four actor-managers were central to the theatre’s direction and development – Sigmund Feinman, Maurice Moscovitch, Joseph Kessler and Fanny Waxman. The theatre was sustained by a number of resident London actors who regularly appeared there.

Europeana Yiddish Theatres in London


Wot? No Fish!! Guadian Review

This is a show about love that has been made with love. A few years back,Danny Braverman‘s mother gave him some shoeboxes that had belonged to his great uncle Ab Solomons. Inside the boxes were hundreds of wage packets with doodles that shoemaker Ab had drawn on them.

Every Thursday – from 1926, when they married, to 1982, when she died – Ab would give his wife, Celie, one of these wage packets with the housekeeping. They are an eloquent portrait of love and of a marriage through its ups and downs. There is even one in which Ab seems to be trying to persuade his wife away from the divorce court. Read more…


Ron Moody Dies

Ron Moody, Actor Best Known as Fagin in ‘Oliver!,’ Dies at 91


Dickens’s Fagin, a Jew, has often been perceived as an anti-Semitic characterization, but Mr. Moody, who was also Jewish, steered clear of stereotype. “Although Dickens describes Fagin as a merry old Jew, there’s no sign of him being a Jew in his language and actions,” Mr. Moody explained.

Others, however, saw his portrayal differently. Writing about the film in The New Yorker in 2012, David Denby said Mr. Moody played Fagin “in a way that parodies Jewish stereotypes by slightly exaggerating them.”


Three on a Match – The New Yorker

Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall in Pinter’s pas de trois.“Harold Pinter’s artistic vision focussed less on love than on the con. Born in 1930, Pinter grew up Jewish in modest circumstances in London’s East End, the beloved only child of hardworking parents, whose own forebears had emigrated to escape the pogroms in Poland and Russia at the turn of the last century. In 1939, Pinter, along with twenty-four other kids from his school, was evacuated to a mock-Gothic castle in Cornwall. He called this separation from his parents “traumatic,” and, in Michael Billington’s ample 1996 biography, he described a heart-wrenching pilgrimage that the couple made to see him during his exile on the coast. “When they left to get the bus it was a long way back to the lodge for me to walk,” Pinter, who died in 2008, said. “But I went all the way to the castle and looked back and could just see them as pinpoints waiting for the bus on the road; and I suddenly ran all the way back to them over the mounds of grass, racing towards them and of course they came towards me too.” That was love. But there’s no drama in reciprocation. Spiritually orphaned—“There was no fixed sense of being . . . of being . . . at all,” Pinter said of his life during the evacuation—the burgeoning playwright was inducted then, and during the war-torn years that followed, into a world of displaced boys, lads who showed him how guile, lies, and emotional distance could not only help get the girl but also contribute to her destruction. “I think as a result of that loss and confusion, one became, generally speaking, nastier,” he said. “Horrid is the word. I think we were all a bunch of horrid little boys because of the loss of security.”

Read More…Three on a Match – The New Yorker.


Ari Roth, Director of Jewish Theater, Is Fired


A prominent but polarizing director of Jewish theater has been fired from his longtime perch at the Jewish Community Center in Washington after several productions that raised challenging questions about Israel.

Ari Roth, a 53-year-old playwright who had served as artistic director of the Jewish Community Center’s Theater for 18 years, was removed on Thursday. He plans to start an independent theater company, called Mosaic, also in Washington.


Transport London Bans Bad Jews Poster

This is an extraordinary story, that in the wake Charlie Hebdo and the idea of free exchange of ideas, is absurd. There is a play called Bad Jews that is going to open at the Arts Theatre, right in the heart of the theatre district, right by Leicester Square tube, posters are all over the place, but not on the tube. I don’t see a lot of “I am a Bad Jew” badges floating around, but TfL needs to concentrate on much worse things than this.
I read this first in the Evening Standard also in the The Guardian