Five exciting reasons to see One Jewish Boy at Trafalgar Studios
Check out why you cannot miss Stephen Laughton's controversial new play that follows a sold-out run at the Old Red Lion Theatre
One Jewish Boy transfers to the West End after a sold-out run at the Old Red Lion Theatre in 2019. Written as an urgent response to overt anti-Semitism by award-winning playwright Stephen Laughton (JB Priestley Award for Writers of Promise), the powerful play explores fear, prejudice and identity – and we think it's getting a well-deserved West End run.
We asked the producers of the play, Ed Littlewood and Keren Misgav, to give us five reasons to be excited and get your tickets for One Jewish Boy at Trafalgar Studios.
1. Crazy love and other emotions...
This is a love story through the years. Jesse is a Jewish boy from north London, and Alex is a mixed-race girl from Peckham – and they are utterly and madly in love. But Jesse gets attacked on Hampstead Heath and he's unable to shake it off... and now he's paranoid and he's frightened and it's messing up his relationship with Alex, his job, his child and his life…
They love, they hate, they fight and make up, they want a family but the world is scary, they encounter racism and carry inherited traumas, they are woke and hopeful, but can lose sight of what's real.
Jesse and Alex's characters feel visceral and raw. Their quick-fire, and often really funny, conversations are real and relatable and because in Trafalgar 2 you are so close to the actors, you feel like you are part of the situation. You will almost want to reach out to them as they go through this rollercoaster of emotions.
2. The play is based on real life events
In recent years there has been a marked increase in anti-Semitic and racist crime, with the numbers rising year on year. Attacks on Jewish schools, synagogues, shops and even just people on the street have become almost a normal occurrence.
The impetus to write this play came from articles in the newspapers reporting anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish teenagers in London and Berlin. Sadly, once the play was at the Old Red Lion Theatre, it drew similar such attacks. Stephen Laughton, the writer, received anti-Semitic abuse and death threats, and the play's posters were ripped down around the area. A previous producer resigned because she was intimidated by anti-Semitic abuse, but all this made us more determined to keep on showing this play.
It's a pertinent story – it is now, it is real, and it is happening in 2020. Why not take a look at the trailer to find out more:
3. Transferring to the West End
As producers, we knew we had to get this play to a wider audience, and when Trafalgar Studios invited us we were thrilled. One Jewish Boy had a solid sell-out run at the Old Red Lion Theatre, where it was their fastest ever selling show and received positive reviews from media and audiences alike.
Suddenly too, the play is sharing space with Leopoldstadt, The Doctor, Rags and others. But whilst Tom Stoppard is telling the story of the fate of his Jewish family from 100 years ago, Stephen Laughton's One Jewish Boy tells the story of now.
4. The cast and creatives
One Jewish Boy is electric and that's thanks to the cast and creative team who are some of the most exciting young people working in theatre. We have award-winning director Sarah Meadows, who is also a member of the Old Vic 12 programme 2019 and AD of Longsight Theatre, as well as Georgia de Grey, our incredibly talented stage designer. She works magic with the small stage of Trafalgar Studios 2, moving our characters through the years and many locations. We also have the brilliant and gorgeous cast from the original production; Robert Neumark-Jones as Jesse and Asha Reid as Alex. Combined, they really are a "tour de force", and we are incredibly excited about bringing them to Trafalgar Studios.
5. It's been updated for the West End
It's important not to just move and repackage the show but to offer something more to audiences, so One Jewish Boy has been developed for the West End run.
For Stephen, our writer, this has been a hell of a ride: "I'm really lucky, I've been given a bigger platform to step on and with that comes responsibility and opportunity. All these people came to see the original run and we have new additions to the creative and producing team. To me, that's of course triggering, fascinating and terrifying, all at once. I mainly want to make sure I deliver on my responsibility to the play. I genuinely hope I have."