Return of the JAPs
Chaffin and Denbo revive Jewish characters and
their yenta patter that haven't been seen in awhile
Denbo and Chaffin
“Ronna & Beverly’s All Jew
Revue,” a show seen at the 92Y Tribeca on May 28, was a constant laugh
riot from start to finish. The title characters, played by Jessica
Chaffin (Ronna) and Jamie Denbo (Beverly), two middle-aged Jewish women
engaged in a constant banter, with Ronna being the more sensible one and
Beverly the daffy, head-in-the-clouds (yet enthusiastic) one.
Even as they talk over each other at times, their dialogue was
exquisitely timed. Bev relates wanting to have some “upper middle age
love” with her contractor, and reviews “Angels & Demons” by saying she
likes to see movies before reading the books they’re based on, “so I
don’t get scared” -- just to give you a few examples of the character
Denbo creates as Bev, and the oddball statements that come out of her
mouth in conversation with Ronna.
The duo performed for more than hour, and their two guests, Wayne
Federman (of “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”) and stand-up/comedic actor
Jim Gaffigan, became almost incidental, with the pair continuing to talk
over each of them most of the time. Both Federman and Gaffigan played
this pretty well though, becoming additional straight-persons along with
Ronna to Bev’s looniness.
Overall, Chaffin and Denbo create a pretty vivid world and
characterizations in this show, using their rapid fire dialogue to make
it all come alive. One priceless expression Denbo uses as Bev is a wave
of her hand from in front of her nose out and up to indicate she thinks
someone’s being “snooty.” Similarly, while quizzing Federman about his
guest spot in the first season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” she says she
can only call it the “Larry David” show because she doesn’t understand
its actual name.
All of these seemingly scattered little pieces grew from the opening
conceit of the show, that the pair are promoting a dating advice book
called “You’ll Do A Little Better Next Time.” This gives them a good
jumping off point to clue the audience in on their yenta personalities
-- but the show itself is more a masterful parody of yentas rather than
a mere portrayal of them.
No upcoming shows scheduled
for “Ronna & Beverly,” but we'll keep you posted.