2019 Adelaide Festival Review: Two Jews walk into a theatre…

What: Two Jews walk into a theatre…
Who: Brian Lipson and Gideon Obarzanek
Where: Odeon Theatre, Norwood
When: Until Sunday 10th March
How much: $59 – $30

Brian Lipson and Gideon Obarzanek

Gideon Obarzanek is most well known as a choreographer and dancer, while Brian Lipson is most well known as an actor, designer, and director. In Two Jews walk into a theatre… both give the other’s craft a go.

Obarzanek and Lipson are acting as their fathers. They are waiting for their sons’ performance to begin, the very one that we are attending, and are making small talk in the lobby. It starts light hearted, about the half hour time difference between Adelaide and Melbourne and the need to adjust their watches. They share stories about their sons and their childhoods. They make fun of their careers, in dance and experimental theatre respectively.

Then it gets deep.

Their experiences during WWII, the right to a homeland in Israel. The tension grows as the conversation does, exploding as they yell at the other. And as soon as it does, it’s over. It finishes with a demonstration of Obarzanek’s true skills as a dancer, and Lipson’s very good attempt. This sits awkwardly amongst the mostly older audience, the contemporary dance we were just laughing at being absurd is suddenly being performed in front of us. They don’t quite know if they should laugh, or respect the art.

As Lipson says at one part, “you’re not supposed to know what you’re watching” the play is supposed to “undermine your expectations”, and indeed it does. I hear multiple others in the audience remarking that it’s not what they expected at the end. While it undermines our expectations, it’s a very enjoyable performance, exploring the role of fathers and leaving me reflecting on my own.

4 out of 5 stars

Natalie Carfora

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