Festival stars' shul show

By Stephanie Brickman, August 26, 2010

Singer songwriter Dean Friedman and award winning actor Jack Klaff were among the star attractions as Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation threw open its doors to Fringe Festival performers and visitors on Sunday.

Klaff performed a scene from his hit show Jack the Knife. Friedman played three numbers, including his worldwide smash Lydia and the lesser known A Million Matzah Balls. It had been "a pleasure to play for an audience that felt instantly familiar", he said.

A crowd exceeding 200 was also treated to an extract from She's Black, He's Jewish, They're Still Married, Oy Vey, a comedy by New Yorkers Stephen Epstein and Niamah Hassan. Fellow New Yorker Rachel Sage performed her musical show Stop me if I'm Kvetching.

The programme began with the Yiddish Song Project, Scotland's own Yiddish Song ensemble, and an extract from Hayden Cohen's Rantings of a Young Fool.

Daniel Cainer closed the day with a teaser for his Jewish Chronicles show. The song, Surbiton Washarama, tells how his father had an affair while he and his brother were in cheder each week. He received a standing ovation from the audience, including a coachload from Glasgow's Newton Mearns Synagogue.

The annual open day is organised by a team of community members led by David and Michele Neville and showcases Fringe shows with a Jewish connection.

"I love the eclectic mix of performers that you get, ranging from singers who are at the top of their game, to performers who are in Edinburgh for the first time," Mr Neville said. "I could hardly believe that Dean Friedman was playing our shul piano. The lovely thing about the festival is how open the audience is, including our own community, to both traditional and experimental performance.

"It's the most successful open day we've had. We were blown away."

Last updated: 11:30am, August 27 2010