Wot? No Fish!! is what it’s all about.
Which is one of the oddest sentences I’ve ever written, but one I have such conviction in as I write.
Danny Braverman has discovered shoebox upon shoebox of drawings and paintings his uncle Ab drew his Auntie Celie – each drawn on a wage packet at weekly intervals. They are funny, tragic and deeply intimate portrayals of the couple’s 60 year relationship. They are also proper ART – really gorgeous, intricate and expressive images. There are over 3000 of them. Danny has a selection to show the audience, as he speculates on what each one may mean.
There is not much more to it than that. It is a man and he has some delicate drawings and he talks about what they mean while also talking about what it is to be Jewish.
But it is BEAUTIFUL.
In being about the most ordinary of lives it is the most extraordinary and wondrous story. And in its retelling I remember all the stories I have been told about my parents relationship, and their parents’ relationships, and all the other members of my greatly extended family and how they, too, are insignificant and yet everything. The ones about how my parents met, how they used to write letters to one another and there is now a pact that whoever lives longest will burn the letters, notes they left around the house while I was growing up and how they both cried because I was so unbearably happy the day we went to Disneyland.
There is this tide of affection from the audience towards Danny – a constant flow of appreciation for his warmth and humour. They answer his questions readily and many members often speak out of turn, such is the sense of ease in the room.
It is theatre performed with such generosity and honesty that it is like it is giving your heart a hug. It is just about some people and their lives, and how they relate to some lives that are happening now and it is really nothing special. But in being nothing special it has made me laugh and weep and filled me with such immense joy that tonight I will fall asleep and only have the warmest dreams.
Battersea Arts Centre, 10/7/2014