Bubble Schmeisis**** (Summerhall, Edinburgh)

Posted: August 10, 2016 in Theatre

bubble schmeisis We learn something new every day. A schmeisis is a traditional Jewish bathhouse. Few remain in London and, we are told, only one is of worth – in Canning Town.

Nick Cassenbaum is an amiable, genuine man. He takes the trouble to come outside, dressed only in his bath robes, to shake the hands of those queuing before leading us inside to his makeshift bathhouse, where ir is much drier. His one man (plus two musicians) show is an affectionate plea for the preservation of heritage in a changing world.

The central thread of his story is a chauffeur-driven journey from his grandfather’s home in Stanmore to Canning Town, where he would be introduced to the schmeisis. On the way, he passes South Mimms where he recalls congregating with a group of Jewish youngsters flying off from Luton to a Summer camp in Israel. He then passes White Hart Lane where unhappy memories flood back of his first (and probably only) Spurs match. He does not feel that he belongs either in Israel or with the Spurs “Yids”, but, at his schmeisis, he finds his spiritual home.

Directed by Danny Beaverman, this show is made to feel casual and unrehearsed, but the audience is embraced by its warmth. We learn that bagel should be pronounced “beegal” and, even if the traditions that are described so lovingly are not our own, we come to share Cassenbaum’s passion for preserving them.

Performance date: 9 August 2016

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