When Rachel Creeger comes on stage dressed in black, wearing silver boots and swigging from a flask you might think she is a rock star. Well, actually, she was. But nowadays she only does comedy, stand-up, writing, and voracious storytelling.
Yes – she tells us right at the start – she’s coming out. She’s a Jew! But on the other hand, she’s also a Brit. Her upbringing was in Essex two streets from the HQ of the British National Party. She toured in a girl band that made it big time in the Hasidic rock scene.
But now she’s afraid. The zombie apocalypse may soon be upon us. Read the papers. And just for the record: it turns out that she doesn’t own all the banks and control the media.
We expect our stand-up to be personal and edgy – punctuated with politics and risk – and we get all this in big portions in It’s No Job... But we get a lot more too. There is storytelling that takes us from Minsk to Essex, across three generations of her German ancestry, and reaches back to the Cossacks responsible for her near white skin.
There’s plenty of complexity for a Brit Jew and this is threaded into the tales. She likes Xmas. Her best friend hangs around in McDonalds. Food gets wrapped up in the humour too. There’s the miracle of a Terry’s chocolate egg rescued from the inferno. There are late night emergency searches on KosherNearMe.
She creates an impromptu orchestra with different sections of the audience doing the ‘dum-dum-dum’, ‘chicka-chicka-chicka’, ‘poom-poom-poom’ complete with our massive jazz hands. It’s nearly Hasidic rock.
At times we might want a greater range: with contrasts between fast and slow delivery, or between cathartic release and silence. But just before this show Rachel’s larynx had gone on strike hence the hip flask of Holland and Barrett herbs and spices mulled in juice. Despite this she always held the audience.
This show is one woman on stage for 80 minutes with only a table and three photos. The ingredients are tight writing, sharp performance and a beautifully zany imagination.
Sweet Venues, Wednesday 7th March 2018
Words by Mike Aiken
Photo by Rachel Cregger