King’s Head Theatre, London
Unleash the Llama’s JEW…ish is a show that explodes into life from its opening moments. This is not your standard romcom or break up comedy, far from having a formula, it plays with storytelling conventions in a mischievous and engaging way that adds to the general hilarity of the piece.
TJ and Max have broken up. They are really bad at being broken up. Max is Jewish, while TJ isn’t and she seems to be mildly in denial about the fact. From therapy sessions to funerals, JEW…ish is full of laugh out loud comic moments. Is fate at play? Or do they just wish it was? There is so much to unpack in Saul Boyer and Poppy Damon’s wonderfully written show. It pokes fun at contemporary culture in a way that feels affectionate rather than mean, adding to the overall warmth of the piece.
Edie Newman has brilliant comic timing as TJ. She is gifted with such great lines and she knows exactly what to do with them. Her TJ is powerful and punchy, with occasional hints of vulnerability. Boyer as Max is clearly not afraid to set himself up for ridicule. You get a real sense of Max’s confusion as he tries to navigate the rules of his changing relationship with TJ, and Boyer delivers this with a wonderful comic energy. The chemistry between Newman and Boyer ensures the comedy sings, as you get the feeling they’re having a lot of fun working together.
Kennedy Bloomer’s direction ensures the show moves at an energetic and engaging pace. The shifts in storytelling dynamics are fluidly brought to life, so they never jar, but continue to entertain. This play is a comic gem, packed full of humour that will resonate with audiences, regardless of religious background. I suspect that if you are Jewish, there are layers to this play that you might see, that flew totally over my head, but I was too busy laughing to feel left out.
If you didn’t get a chance to see ‘JEW-ish’ last year during its successful Edinburgh Fringe run, you have until Sunday 19 January to catch it at the King’s Head Theatre. I highly recommend it to those needing to exercise their laughter muscles.