Monday, December 19, 2005

Never one to be overly effervescent, I have to tell you that I have just had the most fabulous Jewish-style evening.

The second outing for the JCC (Jewish Community Centre) for London's JCC Players, at the LJCC (London Jewish Cultural Centre) had me rolling in the aisles.

Aside: there is a whole separate machlokes (discussion) about acronyms. Tonight was the first "joint venture" between the LJCC and the JCCL, and B asked me what the difference is and I said I think the LJCC is for edgy people with pierced belly buttons, and the JCCL is for gold-slippered people with mittel-European accents wanting to discuss Yiddish cinema of the interwar years. Or maybe it's the other way around. Suffice to say that, apart for machers in the know, there was confusion all round.

Anyway, tonight was a fabulous celebration of all that's Jewish and Anglo: Dave Schneider hosting (and rounding off with a side-splitting Yiddish-esque rendition of Noo Yawk Noo Yawk), professional-standard improv from Josh Cohen, Mandy Dassa, Saul Jaffe, Jon Cohen, Mark Fleishman, Zeddy Lawrence (and Michelle, whose surname I don't know), and with musical interludes from Laoise Davidson (klezmer) and Kate Short (cello).

Sometimes I feel that Anglo-Jewish culture is derivative: we like Woody Allen and chicken soup, and think that New York is yiddish for Jewish. There's only (less than) 300,000 Jews, so sure, we don't have the vibrant set up of US-Jewry, with incubators for cool Jewish projects (JDub, Storatelling), but maybe there aren't enough of us for that. But we do have a uniquely Jewish take that's European and slightly middle-of-the-road walking; we're in and we're out, we have a bothness that's other than the brashness of (some) American Jewry (I am currently struggling with capitalisation).

But tonight I felt like we were truly Anglo: some of us were young and funky, some of us had bullet-proof hair. We weren't in a cool downtown bar, we were in a slightly draughty school hall on the Golders Green side of Hampstead. But the performances were generous and talented; the humour was understated yet hysterical; the vibe was warm and the audience were loving it.

I've heard tell that there may be dates for next year: be there. This'll be one of those things you'll want to tell your buddies you saw first before it got really huge.

No comments: