Erstwhile Peter Brook cohort Bruce Myers has over the past decade fashioned an intimate, heart-warming production in which the shadows of the supernatural mingle with sunny affirmations of the values of family, community and everyday affection.
The framing device of a Sabbath supper transforms the contents of an old-fashioned dining-room into props and setting for the tale itself: a tablecloth becomes a shawl in which grandmother Myers (comical, but never a butt of malicious jokes) negotiates the rocky landscape to the cemetery, scrambling across the table and chairs themselves. In the cemetery lies the husk of a young rabbinical scholar, whose passion for his beloved (Corinne Jaber, to whom Myers is married) is so great that his lonely spirit possesses her body, refusing to leave. And it is love, however misguided, not bitter obsession; consequently, the possession arouses not simple terror, but a deeper horror of something truly, painfully wrong.
Figures are conjured up with an economy of characterisation which is a joy to behold – all done, not through easy mannerism, but pure, skilful acting. The performers' engagement with the audience is immediate and entrancing, an affecting enactment of the bonds tacitly eulogised throughout. Bruce Myers is at home in the Hampstead Theatre; it's an invitation you shouldn't refuse.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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