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Click on the images below for links to the plays and reviews
click for link Kvetch
Mel Gussow, New York Times, 19 Feb 1987

''KVETCH,'' as in the title of Steven Berkoff's new comedy, is a complaint, which, if allowed to fester, can become an anxiety attack...

As in ''Strange Interlude,'' the audience hears the other, blacker half of the story. Husband and wife (Kurt Fuller and Laura Esterman) despise everything about one another, and the mother-in-law (Ruth Jaroslow) is a noisome creature. The husband brings a business friend (Mitch Kreindel) home for dinner, and though he is mannerly in public, he is miserable in private - and tells us about it. As a light strikes the speaker, the others freeze, and the caterwauling rises in intensity.

For a time, ''Kvetch'' is amusing, provoking the audience to nervous laughter of recognition as the author assails the complacency in an American Jewish family. Then Mr. Berkoff reaches for a plot. What could have been a brief sketch, followed by other sketches on related themes, tries -and fails - to become a full play. An older man (Hy Anzell) woos the hapless wife, almost against his will. The unhappy husband, gloomy about his marriage, discovers within himself an unconvincing passion for his business friend, a relationship that, predictably, is destined to repeat the trauma of marriage.

The comedy hovers and then settles in sitcom-land. The bite becomes blunt rather than ferocious. As the show winds down, it is apparent that for all Mr. Berkoff's bark, his play is like a guest who is offended by the company but is reluctant to speak his mind out loud and receive a direct response. This was not the case with his play ''Greek,'' a far less enjoyable work of graphic excess.

click here for link Kvetch (in archive section)
BAC 2000
Steven Berkoff Kvetch

Fear of impotence, unemployment, losing your hair, getting fat, parking tickets, isolation, learning the piano, telling a joke, sweat, grease, dark cupboards, sex, fear of men, fear of women, fear of fear. Welcome to the world of KVETCH. Dedicated to the afraid.


click here for link Kvetch (link is down)
Théâtre Périscope Sept 2000

Les crimes, la pollution, les dettes, les maladies, les cataclysmes, la misère, l’abus, la torture… Oui ! Mais… mais les baisers sur la bouche, les enfants, le foie gras, les couchers de soleil, «Rêves» de Kurosawa, le chant des oiseaux, Venise, la musique… Oui ! Mais… est-ce que les autres vont m’aimer ? Est-ce que je vais joindre les deux bouts ? Est-ce que je suis gay ? Est-ce que je vais passer mon examen ? Est-ce que je suis alcoolique ? Est-ce que je vais me faire attaquer ? Est-ce que je suis en train de mourir ? Est-ce qu’il y a un monstre sous mon lit ? Tout ça c’est pareil pour tout le monde. Tout ça c’est pareil pour tout le monde.

click here for link Kvetch (link is down)
Emanuel Maes

Kvetch is een Jiddisch woord voor ''iets dat jeuk, niet echt pijn doet, maar irriteert...'': oude schoonmoeders, eenzame collega's, vrijpostige echtgenotes, mierenzeik. Of ook: derde generatie Russische Jood zijn in East End London, grijs en grauw, toekomstloos, kortom Berkoffs jeugd. Zijn enige doel was dan ook wegraken. Van het ene baantje in het andere, totdat hij het theater leert kennen. Een ideaal leven lonkt, maar hij slaagt er niet in om als acteur zijn brood te verdienen. Begin jaren '70 beslist hij al schrijvende zijn eigen weg te gaan.

click here for link Kvetch (link is down)
Suzanne Weiss, 10 Apr 1998

The cast of "Kvetch," which is about four middle-class Jews, includes actors of Latino and African-American ethnicity. That is not inconsistent with Berkoff's intent, according to the director.

"It's about the difference between how we present ourselves to each other and the screaming angst we're hiding inside," Gassner said.

"More important, it is not a play about being Jewish; it's a play about being neurotic. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not one and the same."

click here for link Kvetch (link is down)
Betty Hanner, 1998

The script of Kvetch is largely based on Berkoff's personal family experiences of growing up in a Jewish household in Melbourne.

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Patrick Corser, 13 July 2007

Berkoff is a notoriously difficult playwright to stage well; the motives of his protagonists are typically complex, his wordplay virtuosic, his plays are physically demanding for the actors involved.... In Berkoff, intentional vulgarity sits cheek by jowl with passages of poetic clarity, allowing characters to reveal the most painful and ugly aspects of their lives. In Lunch, one of Berkoff’s finest small pieces, we see a black comedy of errors that is as universal as it is bizarrely peculiar. Animal attraction, talking the talk, coming to terms with clandestine desires. But although the play is about the possibilities of language, it also deals with the ultimate impossibility of language as a vehicle to express our most fundamental of desires. However much Berkoff spins a silken web of words, one can never escape the fact that behind them lies an unintelligible scream.


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