Drama and comedy with a twist in Bad Jews

From left: Maria Angelico (Daphna) and Anna Burgess (Melody) in Bad Jews.
From left: Maria Angelico (Daphna) and Anna Burgess (Melody) in Bad Jews.

Bad Jews
By Joshua Harmon
Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre

Their grandfather has just been buried and Jewish cousins Jonah and Daphna are awaiting the arrival of Jonah’s brother Liam, who missed the funeral because he was on a skiing trip with his non-Jewish girlfriend.

Daphna confides in Jonah that she would like to have – as a memento – their grandfather’s cherished ‘Chai’, a small piece of jewellery that he kept hidden from the Nazis (‘Chai’ is the Hebrew word or symbol for life).

Liam’s arrival sparks a no-holds-barred battle of words between him and Daphna, a battle in which neither gives any quarter.

They question each other’s faith, entitlement, even the depth and validity of their romances, plus their ownership – or not – of family honour and constancy.

The non-stop barrage of declamation, degradation and humiliation is reminiscent of Edward Albee in its relentless, unforgiving and powerful delivery.

And, as with Albee, the heavy drama produces some great comic moments.

Surprise twist at the end.

Impressive performances by Maria Angelico, superb as Daphna, Simon Corfield (Liam), Anna Burgess (Melody) and Matt Whitty (Jonah).

Some language may offend.

Runs until Saturday, 4 June.

Book at boxoffice.seymourcentre.com or on (02) 9351 7940