Reviewer: Andrea Allen
Billed as ‘the UK’s only Orthodox Jewish Comedian’, whatever you think of Ashley Blaker, you’re going to be getting something different to the norm. Following on from Blaker’s previous sell-out show Ungefiltered, comes Meshuga Frum. For the gentiles in the audience, ‘Meshuga Frum’ translates to ‘crazy religious’, and as we’re told, for a Jew, this means anyone who’s even slightly more religious than you. Blaker takes you on a whistle-stop tour of his perception of what it means to be ‘Frum’ While outlining his alternative ten commandments. And a quick warning, this show is not Kosher.
Unfortunately, the promise that Meshuga Frum will appeal to “secular or religious” audiences rings untrue. It’s clear that Blaker’s intended audience is a religious one, the density of religious vocabulary sadly renders it incomprehensible for any secular audience member. While not necessarily a criticism, it’s certainly something to heed should you be hoping for a night when you’ll understand most of the jokes being told.
Though it’s difficult to comment on the material when you’re not its ideal audience, it’s fair to say that gentle laughter echoed throughout Blaker’s set. The infrequency of any true belly laughs does, however, give the impression that the jokes that might be escaping you may fall well short of hilarious. His style of delivery frequently gives away punchlines far too early, negating an element of spontaneity and energy and stifling any uncontrollable laughter before it begins. While Blaker’s knowledge and keen observation can’t be faulted, certain other elements of his routine fall disappointingly short and his delivery feels stale and somewhat tired.
Reviewed on 6 February 2017 | Image: Contributed