While Jeremy Corbyn scrambles to defend his party against accusations of anti-Semitism, Ashley Blaker quips that he’s jumping on the “Jewish popularity bandwagon”.
Ashley Blaker: Observant Jew, Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 302) ***
Notwithstanding fleeting mention of Israel, however, this is not a political show. Rather, for me (and I suspect many in the audience), it’s as much an introduction to Orthodox Judaism as it is to Blaker’s stand-up. A successful broadcast producer who doesn’t own a television set, as per religious decree, he’s an amiable guide to a faith that frequently clashes with the demands and conventions of modernity.
Relating how a secular teen and devoted follower of Liverpool Football Club came to switch allegiance to Orthodox worship, Blaker reflects upon the commitment and sacrifice of his choice with some frankly staggering illustrations.
The Orthodox media’s depiction of women; the etiquette of greeting a member of the opposite sex; the complication of turning off light switches on the Sabbath – Blaker retains an attuned ear for the apparent ridiculousness of these principles while conveying his affection for them. Blessed with such rich source material he can hardly fail.
Equally though, his beliefs prevent him critiquing too sharply or delving too deeply into the causes and consequences of such dogma, resulting in a light-hearted primer of a debut hour.
• Until 26 August, 3pm