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Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner!

Back in the sixties, there was a comedy album called “You Don’t Have To Be Jewish”, Now sixty years or so later, that phrase applies to Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner! which tells the story of a Candy Gigi, a young Jewish woman living in Borehamwood who wants to be a star and get the headline on the front page of the Jewish Chronicle but doesn’t know how to do it.

Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner. Credit David Monteith-Hodge.
Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner. Credit David Monteith-Hodge.

As a fairly old, occasionally jaded reviewer of all things theatre, it’s rare that I see something that is truly jaw-dropping but Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner is just that. It tells the somewhat bizarre story of the things Candy Gigi is prepared to do just to get that headline. The show starts out with Candy Gigi talking about Friday night – Shabbat – the start of the twenty-four hours of the Jewish day of rest. It’s when families meet and have dinner together eating gefilte fish balls, challah bread, chicken soup, and roast chicken but it soon moves on from there as the narrative unfolds.

Candy Gigi is a force of nature and everything moves along at 100 miles an hour with her never pausing for breath as she sings, dances and kvetches (Yiddish for moans) whilst berating her poor husband David for his performance in bed amongst other things. She also speaks a lot on the phone to her mother who wants her to have children and settle down but Candy Gigi wants that headline and not a baby.

Before you enter the auditorium, the front of house staff makes sure you read the warning list of explicit content and as the show progresses you realise why for this is one of the rudest, foulmouthed, vulgar shows I’ve seen in many a year rivalling some of Jerry Sadowitz’s finest stand-up shows – there’s nowhere Candy Gigi won’t go. This is not a show for the fainthearted as along the way there’s a giant, talking, very graphic vulva, fake breasts that shoot “milk” into the audience, jokes about Anne Frank, cancer, abortion and a singalong on a song about Hitler – oh and God speaks to Candy Gigi through an electric vibrator! In the marketing blurb on the theatre’s website, it says “Would do Mel Brooks proud” – well compared to Candy Gigi, Mel Brooks is Mother Theresa! There’s also some audience participation so if you’re going to see the show (and you really should) I wouldn’t sit in the front two rows as there are bodily fluids involved – lots of them! As one of Kenny Everett’s characters, “Cupid Stunt” used to say, “It’s all in the best possible taste” but that depends on your personal taste of course.

Candy Gigi isn’t alone on stage as her husband “David” accompanies her on piano, providing backing for her songs and incidental music throughout. He’s played by Musical Director and composer Jordan Paul Clarke who keeps a Buster Keaton like deadpan face throughout although he’s subjected to all manner of abuse from Candy Gigi both verbal and physical and is a calm foil for all the craziness going on around him.

Candy Gigi: Friday Night Sinner is a wonderful, dark, often grotesque piece of performance art that had my ribs aching from start to finish. It never flags and never bores – it might be lewd, crude and a bit (well very) rude but it’s hysterical and riotous for the seventy or so minutes and fully deserved the standing ovation it got from the whole audience.

Does Candy Gigi get her headline on the front page of the Jewish Chronicle? If you want to find out (and you really don’t have to be Jewish), go along to the Soho Theatre and see for yourself – you’ll be grateful you did.

5 Star Rating

Review by Alan Fitter

Friday Night Sinner! is a one-woman, horror-comedy musical about a Jewish, sexually repressed, newly married maniac.

She has delusions of grandeur and wants to become the biggest star in the universe – or at least in Borehamwood – and spills her guts out to her guests over a highly unconventional Friday night dinner.

Wed 3 – Sat 20 May 2023
https://sohotheatre.com/

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