Playing music of Jewish origin, this is a wonderful concept for a show and a good fit for the Edinburgh Fringe’s return in 2021.
Singer/pianist Jeremy Sassoon opens with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, one of the finest pieces of music ever written. It brings to mind the opening of Woody Allen’s classic 1979 film Manhattan “Chapter One he adored New York City” but tonight the Big Apple is traded for the Scottish capital.
A natural raconteur and big Manchester United fan, with a passing resemblance to Celtic’s greatest player Jimmy Johnstone, the football anecdotes and songs worked well together. It was a surprise to find out Anthony Newley wrote Nina Simone’s hit, Feeling Good and Sassoon delivers a great version as part of an arresting trio.
The show is sprinkled with a variety of enlightening facts, one topical story is Elvis Presley’s Jewish roots, with that in mind we are treated to a cracking version of Jailhouse Rock. With the nights fair drawing in a Christmas selection goes down well, Let It Snow written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne is a runaway highlight, as is a lounge rendition of Billy Joel’s Piano Man.
Perhaps the only low point is a run of late 70s cringe songs by Randy Newman, Dean Friedman and Andrew Gold which don’t stand up to the earlier classics and standards in the set.
Things improve with a jump ahead to Amy Winehouse and You Know I’m No Good. We weren’t sold short with a big finish…what else but Barry Manilow’s Copacabana.
Without doubt we all left with our spirits raised.