Warm, gently provocative questioning of Jewish identity
This article is from 2016.
If rubbing down a chunky, balding Jewish guy with soap and a mop is your kind of thing, Bubble Schmeisis might be just the show for you. Even if not, it's got loads going for it – not least the astonishingly supple klezmer music from clarinet and accordion duo Dan Gouly and Josh Middleton that greets you as you first walk in, and which punctuates Nick Cassenbaum's quirky, engaging vignettes of Jewish life.
He hangs his tales – of circumcision, a school trip to Israel, a first trip to Spurs – around a broader narrative of his visit to the Canning Town Schvitz (bathhouse), where he gets the schmeising (wash-down) of the show's title by its elderly regulars. But if those subjects sound like Jewish cliches, that's kind of the point – Cassenbaum gently prods and questions these well-worn images of his culture to question what it means to be a British Jew today.
It's far from a worthy offering, however, and Cassenbaum is a disarmingly informal raconteur, talking to the audience as if we're old friends. For anyone with connections to Brick Lane, the North Circular or South Mimms services, it'll sound warmly familiar; for anyone else, Bubble Schmeisis offers a friendly, gently provocative perspective on Jewish experience.
Summerhall, until 28 Aug (not 15, 22), 3pm, £11 (£8.50).