Review: One Jewish Boy, at Old Red Lion Theatre
20 December, 2018 — By ERIN COBBY
Robert Neumark-Jones in One Jewish Boy. Photo: AF Photography
ONE Jewish Boy is a love story of two people with seemingly irreconcilable cultural differences. Occupying an atmosphere of one-upmanship, we see their relationship slowly evolve to establish how deep the wounds of prejudice run.
The play’s naturalistic language, while often relying heavily on modern references, works well in conjunction with the intimate staging to allow the emotion of the piece to resonate. Most of the action occurs inside a white mesh box, reminiscent of Simon Stone’s staging of Yerma. This gives the small space depth as the box allows for contrast, the actors’ interaction with the staging creating observational and direct atmospheres in turn. Lighting is used to great effect, projecting dates to help the audience navigate the non-linear structure and drawing attention to the anti-semitic graffiti strewn across the walls, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere.
The dialogue deals with very complex issues, the vehicle of the play potentially allowing subject matter that would be too subversive to discuss in daily life, the comparison of circumcision and blood libel making a lasting impression.
Both Robert Neumark-Jones and Asha Read give good performances as Alex and Jesse, switching between ages fluidly and entertaining the audience throughout. They offer intensity and humour, portraying a realistic modern relationship attempting to deal with socio-political, yet ultimately personal, issues.
While slightly stagnant in points, One Jewish Boy offers a novel look at the rise of anti-semitism and the effects of inherited trauma.
Until January 5
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