Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.

Not Quite Jerusalem

“Bleak state-of-the-nation commentary”
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

In Paul Kember’s 1980 Royal Court comedy-drama Not Quite Jerusalem, four 20-something Britons arrive on a kibbutz – seen at the time as a romantic escape from dreary Thatcher-era Britain – with no idea of what they want to get out of their experience at this ‘socialist Butlins’ with hard labour in sweltering heat.

The British abroad tends to be a gruesome spectacle. Although Peter Kavanagh’s production succeeds in shocking with its forthrightness, it isn’t particularly involving due to the slapdash nature of most of the characterisation.

The grotesquely laddish behaviour of future Question Time trolls Pete and Dave (Ronnie Yorke and Joe McArdle) is all too recognisable but the misogynistic bullying of the troubled and over-eager Carrie (Miranda Braun) as comic relief (to an extent) has dated badly.

The production’s undoubted highlight and source of energy is Ailsa Joy’s captivating performance as Israeli supervisor Gila, with her idiosyncratic syntax and ultra-blunt manner. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to understand what she sees in contemptuous Cambridge dropout Mike (Ryan Whittle).

It’s risky to stage the opening scene in soporific half light. Ceci Calf’s naturalistic design represents the kibbutz as an austere place with few creature comforts.

Kember’s writing is at its best when showing how xenophobia and self-loathing are two sides of the same coin, as seen in the disastrous attempt to put on a show in the kibbutz. One can hardly blame the kibbutzniks deeming volunteers more of a nuisance than a help and hope they introduce a more stringent vetting process.


Related to this Review

The Mikvah ProjectThe Mikvah Project

Production Details
Production nameNot Quite Jerusalem
VenueFinborough Theatre
LocationLondon
StartsMarch 3, 2020
EndsMarch 28, 2020
Running time2hrs 30mins
AuthorPaul Kember
DirectorPeter Kavanagh
Set designerCeci Calf
Costume designerIsobel Pellow
Lighting designerRyan Joseph Stafford
CastAilsa Joy, Joe Mcardle, Ronnie Yorke, Russell Bentley, Miranda Braun, Ryan Whittle
Stage managerAnna Townley
ProducerCumulus Productions, Finborough Theatre
VerdictUninvolving revival of Paul Kember's kibbutz-set play that's imbued with bleak state-of-the-nation commentary
FacebookTwitterLinkedIn
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Linked In
Pinterest
YouTube