Last weekend five Reform communities: Brighton and Hove, Maidenhead, Wimbledon and District, Menorah and Sinai joined together at Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue for ‘Purim Spiel 5775’, RSY-Netzer’s annual Purim celebration.
Over 40 participants in school years 5-12 got together within their communities to createspiels, or plays, of the Purim story using innovative and fun themes. After planning and practicing for weeks in their home towns the communities’ performers descended on Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue on Friday to make their final preparations.
On Friday and Saturday the spielers celebrated Shabbat and sang for the Brighton and Hove community in their services before everyone practiced for the big show on Saturday night.
First up was Maidenhead with a superhero theme. Iron Man Achashveros took to the stage alongside Spiderman Mordechai. With an amazing saxophonist and costumes out of this world Maidenhead took home the prizes for ‘Best Additional Music and Sounds’ and ‘Best Costumes’.
Wimbledon and District Synagogue took to the stage next as the Mean Greeks, reworking the story of the ‘Mean Girls’ film with finesse as Regina (Haman) conspired to get Cady (Esther) and Janice (Mordechai) kicked out of school. With tip-top American accents and plenty of passion, Wimbledon won the prize for ‘Best Ruach’ (energy/spirit).
Menorah gave the crowd a giggle as they worked their Purim story to the theme of ‘HaKol’, Israel’s version of ‘The Voice’. In between witty commercial breaks and quips from sassy presenters, Esther Swift won HaKol with the support of evil judge Haman, renowned hater of opera, only to reveal at the end of the show her true identity- an opera singer! Menorah won the prize for ‘Best Concept and Originality’.
Next up Sinai turned the usual spiel on its head by mashing-up several themes. From nature documentaries through to news reports and ice-bucket challenges, Sinai Youth tinkered with the Purim story every which way to put on a really entertaining show, winning the prize for ‘Best Direction’.
Last but not least Brighton and Hove took the spiel to a whole new level by making their performance an interactive play. The audience were taken on a ‘Cluedo’ themed tour of the synagogue in order to interact with the characters of the story and solve the mystery of ‘who murdered Mordechai?’ for a morbid spin on the Purim tale. With great production value, exciting twists and turns and hilarious improvised dialogue Brighton and Hove stole the show and took the number one prize as Purim Spiel winners for 5775.
Lucy Stubbs, RSY-Netzer Mazkira (chair) said: “RSY-Netzer did itself proud through all of the spiels and the whole event was a huge success! We look forward to seeing all of our chanichim (participants) for some more fun and folly next on Shemesh summer camps this July. We want to say a huge thank you and well done to all of the communities that took part and all of the incredible youth workers and RSY-Netzermadrichim (leaders) who helped make the event a huge success!”