In a musical style reminiscent of Claude-Michel Schönberg ballads, Daniel Cainer sings his big, broad Jewish heart out to entertain, engage, enlighten his audience.His songs tell stories – stories of his family, his experiences of them, their experiences of life. It’s not so much his songs or his stories. It’s the way he tells them which gives them a universality which allows anyone to find common ground within them. His bright, innocent blue eyes and wry, impish grin belie the maturity of outlook this guy brings to the stage as a secret weapon. In his introduction to his first number, ‘God Knows Where’, a song about relocation, Cainer moves from the physical to the metaphysical in an easy, conversational style which wins his audience over straight away. His comic timing is subtle and reeks of experience which belies the ease with which he throws lines out into the audience, hooking them in one by one. It’s a joy to watch him do it, and an even greater joy to be reeled in. With lines like Oy gevalt! Oy vez mear! For every moment of joy there’s a corresponding tear,’ this good Jewish boy draws liberally on his heritage in a tongue-in-cheek way which you can’t help but fall in love with. Jew or non-Jew, it doesn’t matter. It’s a universal show. However, if my nonagenarian Jewish grandmother-in-law had been at the show, she would have loved to have busied herself thinking about fixing him up with a nice Jewish girl. You’ll find lots to laugh at, and maybe something that will bring a tear to the eye in this show which starts with unassuming beginnings and grows into something much larger and much more significant. You don’t even have to know Yiddish – by the end, you’ll have learned some, as Cainer explains terms, and their subtext in his inimitable style, making the introductions to the songs, and the interspersed comments he sometimes throws in part of the act. Lighting effects aside, Cainer has his own star quality. Disarmingly shabbily dressed, he magically creates a vocal beam of light and reduces it to a spark which shines on in heart and soul long after the last note of his song has died away. Although his voice tired by the end of the show, with an element of creak coming in at the ends of phrases, it was still good fun. And as he said himself, it takes place in a dry room with air conditioning. Given some venues I’ve seen shows in, that is definitely a plus point. *Plotz = collapse in Yiddish.

Reviews by Leon Conrad

The Blurb

Beautiful songs, much laughter, some tears ... Master songwriter's timely exploration of race, religion and identity. Quirky, catchy, classy, clever ... and kosher. Every song tells a story, touching the heart. 'Very funny and moving' (Daily Mail).