Jewish Chronicles

This show, says its author and performer Daniel Cainer, has been catalogued under theatre because it’s neither particularly funny or particularly musical. Observational humour at its finest. I suggest instead that a section be created in the Fringe catalogue for “simply charming”.The show is a collection of story songs in the style of Flanders and Swann crossed with ballads from religious-themed musicals that constitute a mildly satirical look at modern Jewish culture. Cainer explains to us in song why cocaine is kosher, the origins of the phrase 'lie back and think of Jerusalem' and has the audience learn Yiddish catchphrases in order to respond correctly during the songs. Despite a visually plain (the only ornamentation is the large 'Yamalka' sign on the piano) and musically pedestrian production, the level of general goodwill created by Cainer in the theatre is most impressive, the family atmosphere strong enough that audience members previously strangers felt able to chat amiably as they were leaving, so bonded were they by the shouts of 'Aiy aiy aiy!' Cainer is like an amiable regular down at the local; his audiences are hard pressed not to like him.At heart, these songs are as much about the contribution of family history to identity as they are about a specific Jewish experience, it is unfortunate that Cainer feels the need to point that out. The introductions to, and in some cases explanations of, the songs need tightening; but if you can find it in your heart to give this nice Jewish boy and his mid-life crisis a listen, you’ll not go disappointed.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard


Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond


The Blurb

One man, one piano, one warm, funny, deeply moving musical journey through a much misunderstood culture. 'With his stories within stories, Cainer reminds me of Bunuel... if Bunuel had been Jewish... and born in Leeds' (Alan Bennett)