This intimate gem of a work returns us to the primal rewards of masterful storytelling.
Danny Braverman begins his show Wot? No Fish!! by passing around samples of a traditional Jewish delicacy, fried gefilte fish balls, served with a condiment called chrayne, a mixture of horseradish and beetroot. Chrayne, he tells the audience, like Jewish experience, is both bitter and sweet. It is also (as anyone who has spilt it on a tablecloth knows) indelible.
Wot? No Fish!! is indeed both bitter and sweet, a heart-warming work of modest ambition but great achievement. If not indelible, it is certainly memorable, an enchanting work that reminds us of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives.
Braverman arrives on stage with a shoebox which contains, as he puts it, the story. Apart from the box’s contents, and a projector to ensure we can see them, there are no other props just the power of the story which holds us spellbound for the full 90 minutes without difficulty.
The box contains wage packets which Braverman’s Great Uncle Ab received for his work as a cobbler in East End London. From his marriage in 1926, Ab Solomons handed over ‘housekeeping’ to his wife Celie in his wage packet. That first week he drew simple sketch, a pot, pan and broom, the little love note of a new husband to his wife on proudly presenting her with her first housekeeping.