During the service, which was held by a sister synagogue in Great Portland Street, the story of Esther is intoned in Hebrew. The fun part is that every time the name of Haman is mentioned (he’s the dude in the story who tried to commit genocide against the Jewish people in Persia,) the congregation are set the task of drowning his name out with hooters, rattles, boos and yells. It’s all highly theatrical and a great deal of fun.
After the service, we went downstairs into the hall, and performed a parody of Kiss Me Kate, replacing the original words with funny puns about being Jewish. “Brush up your Torah” etc.
Having made it abundantly clear that I was there to make up numbers only, I received the script to discover I’d been given two large solos, one in Brush Up Your Torah, which (in its original version) is the song I hate more than any other in the world! The tune is ghatsly, the lyrics can only be described as “rapey” and it goes on forever! Actually, the more I studied the music for the whole musical, the more I realised what a huge pile of dross it is!
That said, Marc and Felicity had written wonderfully clever alternative lyrics which were great fun to sing, despite the acoustics in the hall being ludicrous. The audience was highly appreciate and actually included an old university friend of mine, Gawain, whose girlfriend, it turns out, is affiliated to the New West End synagogue where I sing. Small world.
The evening ended with some lovely food and the rabbi yodelling, which I’m not sure anyone could have predicted.
I was surprised the crowd was as large as it was as London was hit by a blizzard today. It’s such a rare occurrence. I walked into Mountview this morning in glorious sunlight, two inches of snow under my feet. And then, at about lunchtime, it started tipping it down. The streets around Warren Street were pure white, this evening, which is a sight you almost never see these days in central London. I found it all rather exciting if I’m honest but hope it doesn’t affect people coming to BEAM tomorrow and Friday.