One of the features I most appreciate about the Rust is the approach to review. This is typified by dear young Daffers, DYD as I call her, who rates ambience, greeting, decor, comfort, cost, speed of delivery and payment as much as gastronomy as these are all considerations the diner takes on board too. Similarly our sports correspondents question the stadium experience.
Thus when I was asked to review this play I said to the editor I wanted to consider the whole theatre experience as I’m only a casual visitor. When I lived and worked in London a trip to the theatre involved a rush from work, a brief time to grab some food and drink, parking difficulties and half way through the play feeling sleepy and a low enjoyment and appreciation factor. When I moved to the coast I thought it would be more leisurely. Not so as I had a luncheon engagement , my monthly pedicure , an important call to make and delivery from the laundryman all creating a rush for me.
The Theatre Royal is old and like many theatres could do with a refurb. My sight line for a premier seat in the stalls was blocked by a large head in from of me blocking out the central stage where much of the action took place. The programme cost £3.50 and – of the 40 pages – 26 were adverts or promoting other ATG shows. Of the copy on the play, there were articles about being Jewish and the playwright on his work neither of which I found illuminating. He says writing is not rational but does not actually clarify the point of the play. It features 3 grandchildren reuniting on the occasion of their grandfather’s funeral. Daphna (Ailsa Joy), the most combative, orthodox and observant of the Bad Jews wants to have the medallion her grandfather wore all his life and notably in the death camp. She asserts herself to be the rightful custodian. Her cousin Liam (Daniel Boyd) wants to give it to his proposed non-Jewish bride Melody (Antonia Kinlay) and the third cousin Jonah (Jos Slavick) does not want be involved. Much of the play is Daphna railing aganst Liam and vice versa. Again I find this declaiming as unrepresentative of dialogue as we know it and the province of noisy soaps. Remarks on the support of Israel even by non-practising Jews did resonate with me and I did find myself wondering what it is to be Jewish in both a secular world but one with religious fanaticism too. It’s well acted and funny but yet the message of the play eluded me. It only lasted 84 minutes which at least means I was not fighting slumber with a bursting bladder in the post-interval act but, as often the case, I found that my time could have been more productively and enjoyably employed.