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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | July 17, 2019

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Bad Jews Come Out To Play

Bad Jews Come Out To Play

| On 14, Jul 2016

Before The Book of Mormon, there were Bad Jews! One of the biggest comedy hits on Broadway and the West End is now touring Australia. Bad Jews provides an outrageous night of theatre!


Bad Jews comes to QPAC after a sell out season and a return season by popular demand in Melbourne. In 100 frantic minutes, Joshua Harmon’s four character play proves that funerals can really bring out the worst in people. Bad Jews centers around three cousins who come together in a Manhattan apartment after the funeral of their grandfather. The result is a verbal (and sometimes physical) comedic battle.
In one corner is Daphna Feygenbaum, a “Real Jew” who is volatile, self-assured and unbending. In the other is her equally stubborn cousin Liam, a secular and entitled young man, who has his shiksa girlfriend, Melody, in tow. Stuck in the middle is Liam’s brother, Jonah, who tries to stay out of the fray. When Liam stakes claim to their grandfather’s Chai necklace, a vicious and hilarious brawl over family, faith and legacy ensues.

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Bad Jews is a comedy that is fresh and exciting. The production from Melbourne’s Vass Theatre Group, directed by Gary Abrahams is as shocking as it is thought-provoking. One is easily forgiven for mistaking the stage for a boxing ring. The play makes you question just how much one will put up with for the sake of ‘family’. It is an exhilarating ride that refuses to stop.

There is no doubt in my mind that the character of Daphna will join the list of theatre’s powerful and slighty insane female characters. Not since Tennessee Williams’s Violet Venables have I seen such a strong character. Maria Angelico was perfect as Daphna, she made the audience groan in protest as she begun another argument and roll their eyes as she refused to give up. Although, it was her performance in the last ten minutes that showed the vulnerability to the ruthless character that showed an undeniable talent.

Simon Corfield was a pleasure to watch in his depiction of Liam. His annoyance towards Daphna slowly simmered away until the climax, a scene that is side-splitting hilarious, and is sure to go down as one of the funniest scenes in theatre history. His interactions with the untoleterable Daphna had the audience gasping for air, it was absurd, relentless and clever.

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Matt Whitty’s portrayal of Jonah provides the calmness that this play needs. His attempts to diffuse the arguments are appreciated but it would ave been nice to see more from this upcoming actor. Lastly, Liam’s girlfriend Melody played by Anna Burgess is surprisingly kooky in a role that is not all smiles and giggles. She drew some of the biggest laughs from the audience and was a real highlight of the production.

Bad Jews is certainly not afraid of holding back, it is full of stereotypes and jokes surrounding the Jewish community. However, it is still able to show its respect in the most beautiful of ways. You will feel exhausted after the conclusion of the play, whether it’s from laughing too hard or from the constant bickering, it’s well worth it!

The Details

What: Bad Jews
Where: Cremorne Theatre, QPAC
When: 12-31 July 2016
How Much: $68 – $79

For tickets, head to Qpac’s website here.