Wot? No Fish! (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Wot? No Fish!

Danny Braverman's illustrated lecture about his Jewish family is cleverly constructed and perfectly paced

Danny Braverman is the perfect host, welcoming us to his lecture theatre with a fishball, passing round the accompanying beetroot and horseradish sauce. He explains that this condiment is traditional in Jewish culture and that it sums up Jewish history, being bitter, sweet and indelible.

With that comparison in mind, Braverman talks us through a box of family heirlooms. Most of these treasures are wage packets illustrated by his uncle, Ab Solomons, and given to his wife Celie over their 50-odd year marriage. These are poignant, revealing, sometimes mildly saucy, always enormously affectionate. Braverman uses them to tie up several extraordinary family coincidences while keeping the food metaphor bubbling under the surface.

As illustrated lectures go, this is a great one: cleverly constructed and perfectly paced, it has the feeling of a visit to Braverman’s Dalston home for a slide show and kosher snacks. But while it is enchanting and moving, it would have been good to see more drama from the founder of the radical Bread and Circuses Theatre Company. And perhaps less fish.

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, until 25 Aug (not 20), 3pm, £12 (£10).

Wot? No Fish!

  • 3 stars

Written and performed by Danny Braverman. Directed by Nick Philippou. In 1926 shoemaker Ab Solomons drew on the wage packet he gave to his wife Celie. Throughout their marriage, right up until the early 80s, Ab had drawn a wage packet cartoon every week for her. These cartoons, with blistering honesty, through all their…