Following a one week run in the 2021 Fringe, Jeremy Sassoon’s Mojo returns this year for a full run. The show tells the story of a 100 years of Jewish songwriting in 75 minutes, from Irving Berlin to Amy Winehouse and beyond, through covers (and anecdotes) of the most iconic of these songs, with vocals and piano by Sassoon; double bass, electric bass, and vocals Nicola Farnon; and drums by Phil Johnson.
To a gentile such as myself, it’s an eye-opening experience. Even for the artists whose religion one already knows, this isn’t necessarily the lens one is used to view them through, and when grouped together their collective impact is impressive, as Sassoon’s medley of classic Christmas songs alone plainly demonstrates. The show also fits into a larger narrative, charting the evolution of popular music from the Age of the Writer, through that of the Singer, and into that of the Singer-Songwriter.
Sassoon’s love for the material is evident, not just in the music but also in the anecdotes and fun facts concerning them, and the trio’s music talent and stage presence is beyond question. I may be hunted down and murdered for this, but I preferred several of their versions to the originals by Bob Dylan and 10cc!
Sassoon closed out the show bringing up the Covid R number and asking anyone who liked the show to help his own equivalent by telling five people about it. Entertaining and playful between songs, passionate and professional the rest of the time, I am happy to acquiesce. I don’t know if this review will bring five people, but will five stars do, Mr Sassoon?
“Jeremy’s Sassoon’s Mojo: Musicians of Jewish Origin plays until August 28th at Assembly Checkpoint and tickets can be found at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/jeremy-sassoon-s-mojo
Reviewer: Oliver Giggins
Reviewed: 3rd August 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★