Review: Bad Jews

They’re all skilled in the art of Tae Kwon Face-Pushing.

They’re all skilled in the art of Tae Kwon Face-Pushing.

Photo courtesy of Capital Stage

7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 7 p.m. Wednesday; $28-$40. Capital Stage, 2215 J Street; (916) 995-5464; Through July 23.
Rated 5.0

Though the script of Capital Stage’s Bad Jews, by playwright Joshua Harmon, is very funny, there are also truths that emerge as sparks fly over ownership of a chai, a gold pendant signifying life. While the chai, which originally belonged to the recently departed grandfather of three New York 20-somethings, is at the center of their disagreement, the acrimony goes much deeper into fundamentals of the family’s Jewishness.

Daphna is a force of nature, a rabbinical student and über Jew whose dream is to move to Israel and join the army. Her religion is very important to her, as is her family.

The character gives actress Tara Sissom an opportunity to display a whole new depth to her well-known comedic talent. She bursts onto the stage with nonstop monologues, begging her mild-mannered cousin Jonah (Noah Thompson) to let her have Poppy’s chai because it means the most to her.

Cousin Liam (Capital Stage newcomer Jeremy Kahn) is a self-described “bad Jew” who arrives with his blond Iowa-born girlfriend, Melody (Chloe King). He has a long-standing dislike of Daphna and will fight her tooth and nail for the chai, which he intends to give to Melody.

Performances by Sissom and Kahn are outstanding and memorable, while Melody tries ineffectually to broker peace between the two warring cousins.

This one-act dramedy is one of the best of Capital Stage’s “Love and War” season, and the surprising twist at the end should make audience members stop and think about what is really important.