The Jewish Chronicle - - ARTS&BOOKS -

WHEN CO­ME­DIAN and ris­ing Amer­i­can TV star Ed­die Iz­zard played the leg­endary Jewish co­me­dian, Lenny Bruce, on the Lon­don stage in 1999, there was just one flaw in what was oth­er­wise con­sid­ered to be an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance.

In the scene where Iz­zard’s Bruce ap­peared naked, close ob­servers could not help but no­tice that Iz­zard had un­der­stand­ably de­cided against por­tray­ing his Jewish sub­ject in ev­ery de­tail, and had opted not to be cir­cum­cised.

But no such de­tail has been over­looked for the forth­com­ing world pre­mier of Antony Sher’s latest play, The Gi­ant, which opens next week at North Lon­don’s Hamp­stead Theatre.

The play imag­ines that Michelan­gelo and Leonardo da Vinci were both up for the com­mis­sion to sculpt David and that a young quar­ry­man called Vito mod­elled for what would be­come one of the world’s great­est sculp­tures.

As Vito was al­most cer­tainly gen­tile, the in­struc­tion went out to the cast­ing di­rec­tor to au­di­tion only un­cir­cum­cised ac­tors for the play which con­tains nu­dity. “The au­di­tions were not naked”, Sher as­sures.

The drama schools were scoured and con­grat­u­la­tions must go to Stephen Ha­gan who has landed his de­but role.

Of course, if Michelan­gelo had been his­tor­i­cally ac­cu­rate in his por­trayal of David, the cast­ing prob­lem would have been al­to­gether dif­fer­ent.

Ed­die Iz­zard: not Jewish enough

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