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The Holy Rosenbergs

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Ryan Craig’s new play The Holy Rosenbergs is a well organised, well written study of passions and beliefs in a North London Jewish family that doesn’t quite break the confines of its own construction; I was moved, but not very much.

It’s the eve of Danny’s funeral in Edgware. He died in action with the Israeli army in Gaza, flying low over civilian targets in search of snipers. His sister Ruth is a lawyer reporting on this campaign to a war crimes investigation in Geneva.

The rabbi (Philip Arditti) comes round to say there’s going to be a protest and to suggest that Ruth (Susannah Wise) should keep her head down by sitting shivah indoors.

Meanwhile, Henry Goodman’s flustered David, is worrying about his catering firm and his other son Jonny’s (Alex Waldmann) reluctance to come aboard; Jonny’s starting a gambling website and taking aesthetic exception to the new pillars at the front of the house.

Arguments are marshalled, opinions raised, and the debate joined in the second act by Stephen Boxer’s affable, diplomatic, half-Scottish QC, and Paul Freeman’s hard-line consultant obstetrician who not only defends the state of Israel, but threatens to withdraw his custom for David to cater his daughter’s wedding if Ruth attends the funeral.

Laurie Sansom’s production, designed by Jessica Curtis, is neatly laid out on a reconfigured Cottesloe ground level that places half the audience almost on the dining room carpet, close enough to make you feel slightly uncomfortable when the ever reliable Goodman goes into his strenuous worrying mode or Tilly Tremayne as his wife, mortified at forgetting the side-plates on the dinner table, suddenly passes out with the stress of it all. Decent, but unexciting.


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