Why go to Edinburgh this year? Here are at least 12 good rea­sons

Once again, the fes­ti­val is full of Jewish-in­ter­est acts worth catch­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts & Entertainment - BY LEE LE­VITT

1. ANDY ZALTZ­MAN: ARM­CHAIR REV­O­LU­TION­ARY/PO­LIT­I­CAL AN­I­MAL

The Ox­ford clas­sics grad­u­ate, ex­pe­ri­enced­stand-upandco-starof BBCRa­dio 5 Live’s 7 Day Sun­day, has been per­form­ing at the fringe since 1999. This year he brings his pop­u­lar brand of po­lit­i­cal satire to the Stand Com­edy Club. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.thes­tand. co.uk

2. RUBY WAX: LOS­ING IT

Seen in Lon­don ear­lier this year, Wax’s show about her his­tory of de­pres­sion is part au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, part con­fes­sional, part ther­apy, and all set to mu­sic played by fel­low de­pres­sive, pi­anist Ju­dith Owen. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.un­der­belly.co.uk

3. ISY SUT­TIE: PEARL AND DAVE

The Hull-born mu­si­cal stand-up is best known for her role as Dobby in the hit Chan­nel 4 sit­com Peep Show. Since 2008 she has been a “com­edy con­sul­tant” for Skins, the Chan­nel 4 teenage drama. Her multi-char­ac­ter tale of in­ter­net ro­mance of­fers an in­trigu­ing peep into her own love life. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.plea­sance. co.uk

4. JOSH HOWIE: I AM A DICK

In a com­pet­i­tive stand-up com­edy scene, Howie stands out for his high­en­ergy style. The Crouch End-based son of the PR guru Lynne Franks was on top form at the last Fringe with his punchy, Jewish-flavoured show, Gran Slam. Ex­pect noth­ing less this time. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.thes­tand.co.uk

5. BRETT GOLD­STEIN GREW UP IN A STRIP CLUB

Com­edy as ther­apy again. In Gold­stein’s case, he is work­ing out is­sues raised by his ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning a strip club in Mar­bella as a 20-year-old af­ter his fa­ther had a midlife cri­sis. No shorta g e o f mat e - rial there, then. In his de­but solo show, the ac­tor, writer and co­me­dian of­fers the chance to “marvel at dancers, laugh at the Mafia and cry at the man­age­ment”. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.plea­sance.co.uk

6. NU­CLEAR FAM­ILY

Set in New Zealand, Desiree Gezentsvey’s semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal play fol­lows a group of Venezue­lan and Soviet Jewish im­mi­grants ques­tion­ing free­dom and fate on the day 25 years ago when the Ch­er­nobyl nu­clear disas­ter struck. Gezentsvey’s Venezue­lan-born daugh­ter, 26-year-old ac­tress Yael, plays around a dozen char­ac­ters in this solo show. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.thes­paceuk.com

7. SHY­LOCK

In his one-man show, Gareth Arm­strong looks at Shy­lock through the eyes of Tubal, a mi­nor char­ac­ter in The Mer­chant of Venice. An­tisemitic stereo­types are con­fronted and the var­i­ous por­tray­als of Shy­lock through the cen­turies — from comic vil­lain to vic­tim of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion — un­picked. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.as­sem­blyfes­ti­val.com

8. JU­LIAN SANDS IN A CEL­E­BRA­TION OF HAROLD PIN­TER

York­shire-born ac­tor Ju­lian Sands — best known per­haps for star­ring op­po­site He­lena Bon­ham Carter in the 1985 film, A Room with a View — draws on po­ems and per­sonal anec­dotes to of­fer “a fresh and poignant in­sight into Pin­ter’s lit­er­ary legacy” in this pro­duc­tion, di­rected by John Malkovich. Per­for­mance de­tails: www. plea­sance.co.uk

9. TEREZIN: CHIL­DREN OF THE HOLO­CAUST

Anna Smu­lowitz, the daugh­ter of Auschwitz sur­vivors, wrote this play in 1971 as part of her mas­ters de­gree the­sis at the Univer­sity of Cincin­nati, and in­tended it to be a tribute to her many rel­a­tives who had died in the Holo­caust. The win­ner of an Amer­i­can chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion award, it is set in a prison camp in 1943, and per­formed by the Ac­tors’ Stu­dio of Mas­sachusetts. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.thes­paceuk. com

10. VINE­GAR KNICK­ERS: SKETCHY BEAST

Sketch-based com­edy and im­per­son­ations from Katie Bur­netts, Har­riet Fisher and Sa­man­tha Baines, who claim Jackie Ma­son as an in­flu­ence. Look out for their Jewish Justin Bieber and their in­cred­i­bly naive yid­dishe grandma. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.

ed­fringe.com

11. THE

IN­VES­TI­GA­TION

Peter Weiss’s script fa­mously drama­tises the 1960s Frank­furt war tri­als of those re­spon­si­ble for the day-to-day run­ning of Auschwitz. A raw docu­d­rama, with mu­sic, phys­i­cal

threatre and con­tem­po­rary dance, it is told through wit­nesses’ sto­ries by 3Bugs Fringe Theatre, from fhe Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham. Per­for­mance de­tails: www.ed­fringe.com/venues/ zoo-south­side

12. SI­MON SE­BAG MON­TE­FIORE: A HIS­TORY OF JERUSALEM IS A HIS­TORY OF THE WORLD

Jerusalem: The Bi­og­ra­phy, by the his­to­rian and best­selling au­thor Si­mon Se­bag Mon­te­fiore, has been de­scribed var­i­ously by crit­ics as “mas­terly”, “fas­ci­nat­ing but ghastly”, “en­gross­ing” and “as­tound­ingly am­bi­tious, tri­umphantly epic”. Se­bag Mon­te­fiore ex­pands on the book’s vivid de­pic­tion of Jerusalem’s “3,000 years of faith, slaugh­ter, fa­nati­cism and co-ex­is­tence” at this In­ter­na­tional Book Fes­ti­val talk — one of at least 10 events of Jewish in­ter­est at Edinburgh’s cel­e­bra­tion of lit­er­a­ture. De­tails: www.ed­book­fest.co.uk Also look out for…

Scrabrous stand-up from Brook­lyn-born, south-east Lon­doner Lewis Schaf­fer; hard-work­ing vet­eran co­me­dian Ivor Dem­bina with two shows, Free Jewish Com­edy and Ivor’s Other Show; a mix­ture of magic and edgy hu­mour from Jerry Sadowitz in his Co­me­dian, Ma­gi­cian, Psy­co­path, which mer­its an 18+ rat­ing, and the Friends Academy’s new mu­si­cal, We Didn’t Have Time To Be Scared, based on a di­ary chron­i­cling two sis­ters’ flight from Nazi-oc­cu­pied Aus­tria. Full de­tails: www.ed­fringe.com

Ruby Wax and Ju­dith Owen poke fun at de­pres­sion, while Andy Zaltz­man gets po­lit­i­cal

Fam­ily tribute: Terezin: Chil­dren of the Holo­caust

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