Theater Review: The Cemetery Club

Four veteran actors crown their careers with an inspired version of an American-Jewish comedy.

October 9, 2005 10:29
2 minute read.
old ladies sit at table 88

cemetary club 88. (photo credit: )

The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell (Moadon HaAlmonot HaAlizot) Habima National Theater at the Rovina October 29 In "The Cemetery Club," four veteran actors crown their careers with an inspired version of an American-Jewish comedy. With Ilan Eldad's magnificent direction and Shmulik Levy's hilarious translation, the local staging of this play is a stupendous success. Ida, Lucille and Doris, three New York Jewish widows from Queens, meet monthly for tattle and tea followed by a visit to the cemetery to grieve for their deceased husbands. The intrusion of the eligible widower Sam into their mourning antics triggers the rest of the action. Lia Koenig sparkles in the role of the glamorized, promiscuous Lucille, a highlight in her career as Israel's leading comedienne. Her brazen flirtation with Sam to revenge her late hubby's frequent infidelities is painfully funny. Rivka Gur as the quieter, more dignified but quite as vulnerable Ida, is endearing and touching too. Devorah Kedar is the dull, devoted, grave-tending Doris, played with explosive Yiddish humor. By wooing of the benign, decisive Sam, Ilan Dar brings the play to its firm, happy conclusion. Lots of laughs, attended by intermittent tears, the bellyaching humor in this production is brilliantly set off by a revolving set and effective costumes (Dror Herenson and Orna Smorgonski), and Eldad Lidor's music. Scenes such as those in which the aging lady friends scratch and scream and fight, or suddenly appear dressed alike as bridesmaids after a wedding, are hysterically funny. With "The Cemetery Club," Habima offers welcome relief after a harsh, nerve-racking summer.

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