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Return of the JAPs

Chaffin and Denbo revive Jewish characters and their yenta patter that haven't been seen in awhile

Pictured: 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. 



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