Ladyboys and Paperdolls

Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London, UK.

Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn, London, UK. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Philip Himberg

Philip Himberg (Photo credit: Huntington Theatre Company)


A play at the Tricycle Theatre (in Kilburn – NW London)written by Philip Himberg – with music – lots of it. Some Jewish and some not… and adaptation of a documentary by Tomer Heymann which premiered at the LA Film Festival in 2006. So based on real life in fact.

The play was developed in part by the Sundance Institute which was founded by Robert Redford in 1984. Philip Himberg being the Artistic director of said Institute for their theatre programme.

We gave it 5 stars and climbing…

I went to see with the local theatre group – 16 of us bought tickets – and it seemed when we got there – an afternoon matinee – that we weren’t the only group that had come together! What was even more interesting was that it seems that some people had not been told what it was that they were going to see… just a play with some Jewish content. However, even though they were somewhat surprised by the content – there was plenty of Jewish stuff and we heard lots of the audience singing along with the Jewish songs and clearly enjoying themselves.

No-one I spoke to thought the play was anything but good.

We had our usual discussion afterwards and we all agreed that the play brought up some subtle messages about being an outsider in a closed community; the difficulties of being an emigrant; and not being permitted citizenship; the issues of not being able to tell your family just who you were and to have to conceal your ‘identity’; and having to live a long way away from your family and thus your émigré community becomes your family and friends and what happens when you lose one. And finally, how easy it was to exploit outsiders.

Himberg himself says the play to him represents something critical about our times where people compelled to abandon all that is familiar to seek community, adventure, understanding, love and family.

All this concealed within what was apparently a play about Filipino men who go to Israel to care for elderly Jewish men and women – many of whom grow to love them and make them part of their new family – and the fact in their time off they prefer to dress and act as women – Ladyboys in many respects.

We all also thought that this was a play that was destined to make it big – to go onto a main stage somewhere – we wait to hear that it has gone on the circuit.

[OK – I did have one small complaint – i thought that the faces of one or two of the Filipino boys could have been more expressive when they were not speaking but in in the background – a small criticism that you wouldn’t have noticed if you hadn’t been in the front row as we were..]


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