Edinburgh Festival One-Man Show in Sydney

April 13, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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Following a knock-out reception in Melbourne, Daniel Cainer has brought his one-man show “Jewish Chronicles” to Sydney.

Daniel Cainer p: Henry Benjamin

In a performance which Cainer described to J-Wire as being autobiographical, the performer uses his musical and comedic talent to tell wonderfully warm tales of Jewish life.

The highlight of his show is the fifteen minute long song “Surbiton Washerama” in which Cainer tells how his father would drop him off every a Sunday morning at Cheder and then go on to the laundrette to do the family’s washing. There, he meets a woman who came from a small mining village inYorkshire. They have an affair which results in the splitup of Cainer’s parents and the effect it has on a nine year old becomes the starting point for his long and successful journey as a musician, comedian and composer.

Cainer’s twin brother Adam remains orthodox to this day while his older brother Jonathan became a world syndicated astrologer whose ‘predictions’ appear daily in the Murdoch press.

Cainer told J-Wire: “I spent some time in Los Angeles in pursuit of the ultimate success in the entertainment industry as a singer-songwriter but I have found the creation of the Chronicles a marvellous theraputic tool to deal with life. My former wife and my current parter are not Jewish and I suppose halachically neither are my two sons. But I am and my work which I will perform again at the Edinburgh Festival reflects my take on being Jewish.”

Cainer, 46, was born into an “observant reasonably religious” family in Kingston-upon-Thames near London. He told J-Wire “Our life was a very Jewish one until my father had an his affair with the woman at the laundrette..then all hell let loose and everything changed.”

Cainer and his twin Adam went to live in Leeds with his mother. “In 1970, when his happened, many families were going through divorce I suppose as a result of the swinging society of the late 60s and it set me off on the path. It reflects the breakdown of Jewish family lives pretty much world-wide at that time.”

Cainer compared his family’s scenario to the Coen brothers’ latest movie “A Serious Man”.  He continues…”So my father, a religious doctor’s son, meets a woman from the diametrically opposite side of society…the wife of an impotent miner and has a tryst of her every Sunday while my brothers and I are at cheder.”

Cainer and his twin went to live in Leeds with his mother and her new husband. “We had a traditional Jewish life and Adam and I had twin barmitzvahs. He is very frum to this day. Jonathan stayed with my father who we still see…in fact my dad likes to come to the show. After my barmitzvah, I lost interest in shule even though I had been in the choir”.

His musical talent started when he was at school. “I have been a musician all my life. Adam and I used to go the old age homes when we were still at school and entertain the oldies.”

Cainer’s laundrette story with music, was created after his own divorce. He said: “A therapist I went to who was not Jewish told me I had to address my Jewishness as you are made up of all the things that have come before you.”

He added: “It’s a very Jewish thing to deal with your angst through comedy.”

Daniel Cainer will perform “Jewish Chronicles” at the Bondi Pavilion from tonight until April 18th.

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