Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Daniel Cainer has an effortlessly relaxed stage presence and you will quickly warm to his charm. On the piano he sings humorous songs about his life as a Jewish man, his beliefs and tales from Jewish culture.
You quickly get an impression of Cainer’s style as he enters: He is self consciously irreverent without being disrespectful to Judaism. He easily wins over the audience by being completely open and honest and having a good mix of songs. Some are odes, others gently deprecating, but they are always charming.
The first is about where his parents came from, and he goes on to sing about his childhood and Jewish culture. In the middle is a more plaintive number, recognizing that he is, basically, who he is. He belts out a hilarious tale (supposedly true!) about a cocaine addicted, whore loving Rabbi in Manchester, and finishes his act with a brilliant story of how he was conceived and the affair his father later had.
His lyrics are heavily ironic and apart from the more reflective moments, it is clearly not in his nature to take things seriously. In between songs he jibes with the audience, immediately asking how many Jewish people there are, and what denomination. He talks a little about the culture and its complexities, telling us he is basically secular, and asking if that makes him a bad Jew? He strikes the right tone between making fun of his culture and modest self abasement, and gets away with it due to his persona.
Whether Jewish or not, the audience love him, and you can see that he must have a lot of friends. Even if some of his lyrics could be construed as crossing the line, he recognizes this and explains his motivations. He clearly has a great time each night. He tells us his show is usually longer than an hour; you will probably wish it was three.