Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Kravitz, Cohen, Bernstein and Me

Deb Filler

Genre: Theatre

Venue: Assembly Rooms, Drawing Room


Low Down

Deb Filler takes the audience on a journey to her past through the lens of her parents and their influences. The show is peppered with stories, music,  family photographs and videos. She performs her songs in English and Yiddish, handily accompanying herself on guitar.


Multi award-winning  Deb Filler is a New Zealander/Canadian/Jewish comedienne who has been working as an actor, character artist, singer, comic and writer for 30 years. She’s sold-out runs in Edinburgh, London, Toronto, Berlin, Montreal, Sydney Australia, Baltimore, Washington D.C and her home town of Auckland, New Zealand.  She has enjoyed a busy TV career that includes appearing in a documentary alongside comedy legends Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Carl Reiner.  

Deb’s shows often involve playing multiple characters.  In her off-Broadway solo show “Punch Me in the Stomach”, she played 36 characters . In her international touring solo show “Filler Up” she morphed into 27 characters.  Other theatre credits include Canada’s Stratford Festival, and a Yiddish language production of “Death of a Salesman” at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

So it is no surprise that she has chosen to present a show at the Fringe that incorporates several personalities.  Here she imagines meeting singer/songwriter Lenny Kravitz, composer/singer Leonard Cohen, and conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein – the “three Lennys”.

The stories are framed through family encounters and experiences.  We are welcomed into her family history through on-screen visuals of family pictures and videos, stories, and songs performed live with her guitar in hand.

Music is in her DNA.  It is how her family communicated and part of their social circles. Her dad pushed her music career. At the age of 9, Deb won a contest with her recorded version of a Peter, Paul and Mary song. That took her to a PPM concert, where she joyfully obtained their autograph, which we see on the screen.

Leonard Bernstein was an influence on her family. Her father was a baker who interacted with Bernstein.  There is an hilarious story of Deb’s encounter with Leonard Cohen as a limo drive in 1984, listening to one of Cohen’s cassettes as it became entangled in the car’s cassette player. Deb had the opportunity to meet Lenny Kravitz.

For the older generation in the audience, the show is a trip down memory lane. The music of the folk era had everyone singing along.  And some of the hits are reimagined in Yiddish.

Deb has a knack of making the audience feel that they are part of her world.   She has invited us into her home, filled with the smells of fresh-baked challah, to sit by the fireside, listen to her history, and sing with her. She is an easy storyteller with impeccable comic timing. Just when you think you have heard the whole tale, there is a twist or turn in the retelling that adds another dimension to the outcome.   The details in the narrative effectively engage the audience and bring the experience to life.  It’s quite possible that there is some embellishment of the anecdotes beyond the actual events, but that is inconsequential.  Her performance of the encounters is so dramatic and funny that you appreciate the anecdote for just that – a story.

Charming, delightful, and witty, “Kravitz, Cohen, Bernstein and Me” is a lovely way to spend an hour with the three “Lennys” through Deb’s experiences.  And the standing ovation at the end is well-deserved.

The show is directed by Sarah-Louise Young.