“Bar Mitzvah Boy” at Manchester Jewish Museum

We’re currently hosting the Jewish Theatre Company as they present Jack Rosenthal’s comedy classic “The Bar Mitzvah Boy”.  We are sold out for every night and there are just one or two tickets left for Sunday’s matinee.  Finally the phones have gone quieter but the building is buzzing with anticipation. Props are strewn around the general office and the main synagogue hall waits each night to be transformed  into a theatre space.

The  JTC have been rehearsing here at night and on Sunday afternoons for weeks.  I had a quick chat with Fran the director to see how she felt about working here.  Fran told me how much the cast had enjoyed working in such a beautiful environment and found it an exciting challenge.  It’s great to have a ready made shul for one of the scenes.  Having the audience on two side rather than just in front is an interesting situation to deal with. There have been problems with lighting and sound all of which have been sorted out.

The play is set in the 1970’s and the props particularly the furniture have been difficult to find. Most of the costumes were hired and some props were bought on Ebay. It will really be a trip down memory lane for some of the audience.

Fran has enjoyed directing a cast in which there is a wide range of ages.  Younger cast members in particular are very open to suggestions and are eager to try out  new ideas. 

The characters in the play are so well crafted that the audience will easily identify with them and feel as if they have met them before.  The mother Rita is a very comical character who is so bound up with the arrangements for the bar mitzvah celebration that she has almost lost sight of her son and his feelings.  I wonder how many  mothers of former bar mitzvah boys there will be in the audience and whether they will squirm a little as they watch Rita’s antics.

Finally Fran says she and the cast were nervous but excited about opening night and we now know that it went really well.





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