facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11

Bad Jews

Published 22 January 2015

What’s it all about?

Three Jewish cousins at war over a family heirloom, one claustrophobic New York studio flat and an unfortunate girlfriend caught in the crossfire of their vitriolic exchange like a Disney rabbit in the headlights.

If you’re worried about making a scene – and you’d be in good company doing such a thing in the company of this enraged quartet – I’d suggest sitting on your hands for this one theatregoers. If not, you might just find yourself covering your eyes in uncomfortable embarrassment with one and clasping your mouth in shock with the other for the entirety of Joshua Harmon’s riveting – not to mention eye-wateringly hilarious – four hander as this fiery tribe not only get under each others’ skin but scratch and tear at one another while they’re at it for good measure.

Who’s in it?

Jenna Augen as, in the words of her beloved cousin, “super Jew” Daphna. Controlling, passive aggressive, patronising and an absolute master of humiliation, Augen plays the precocious Daphna with such passion that you can’t help but love her. Until you bloody hate her that is. Overbearing and over earnest, Daphna makes for a topical character as her determination to keep the traditions of her Jewish heritage alive bubbles over from religious zeal to downright borderline racism.

Ilan Goodman proves award-winning Augen’s match both in energy and despicableness as Daphna’s polar opposite Liam; a young academic who has replaced interest in his own family’s history with an MA in Japanese culture. Equally judgemental and possibly a touch more enraged, Goodman is a live wire on stage, giving a  brilliantly unpredictable performance that makes for compulsive viewing.  

The final pair – whose characters are lucky to get a word in edgeways – bring less fire but equal comedy with Joe Coen earning best-sitting-on-a-fence-plaudits as the youngest cousin Johan and the brilliantly subtle Gina Bramhill, who avoids easy clichés to bring real warmth – and nauseating sincerity – to the role of the diabetes-inducingly sweet Melody.

What should I look out for?

The singing scene. Good God, the singing scene. I am still wincing at the thought of it 12 hours on.

Who was in the press night crowd?

Henry Goodman was in for press night, swapping the stage for the stalls to support his son Ilan. We spotted him sporting an undeniably proud smile as the company received a well-deserved standing ovation from a few enthusiastic members of the audiences.

In a nutshell?

Cringe and laugh in equal measure as you take your ringside seat for 90 minutes of acerbic battle that will make you want to draw your own nearest and dearest close and pronounce ‘All is forgiven’. This family are the undeniably heavyweight champions of caustic conversation.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@Baddiel Bad Jews @St_JamesTheatre is that rare thing: a properly funny play. Really. You *don’t* sit there thinking: I wish I was watching Peep Show.

@LukeAllenGale ‘Bad Jews’ @JoedotCoen @St_JamesTheatre tonight was a right rumble of rectitude, brilliantly directed & cast. Go see – on til 28 Feb

Will I like it?

Flawless performances and a script that zings off the stage, if you’re looking for an intelligent comedy then look no further. Spikey dialogue, complex characters and touching moments of unexpected poignancy make Michael Longhurst’s production as successful a knockout as one of Daphna’s comebacks.

Bad Jews at the St James Theatre is playing until 28 February. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.


Sign up

Related articles

Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.