The Rubenstein Kiss @ Southwark Playhouse*

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information:
Booking until: 13th April 2019
Production Photos by: Scott Rylander
Run time: 2hr 45mins
Trigger warnings: suicide attempt, flashing lights 

James Phillips’ multi award winning play The Rubenstein Kiss has returned to London for its’ first major revival. Based on a true story, The Rubenstein Kiss takes place in the middle of the Cold War and follows Esther and Jacob Rubenstein, a devoted Jewish couple whose Communist ideas lead to their world being torn apart. From the series of events that took place in the past, we also see how their actions affected their descendants 20 years later.

Henry Proffit (Jakob Rubenstein), Ruby Bentall (Esther Rubenstein) & Eva-Jane Willis (Rachel Girschfeld) in THE RUBENSTEIN KISS. Credit Scott Rylander

Firstly, it is on the longer side for most plays staged at the Southwark Playhouse but the action never slows down. James Phillips’ script is engaging and is very fast paced that the production never drags, particularly in the first act. The use of cross cutting between the 1950s and 1970s worked really well and didn’t feel out of place at all. The lighting design by Mike Robertson and Holly Ellis is expertly done to explicitly show the differentiation in time. Sean Cavanagh’s impressive set design cuts across the space, splitting the audience into two halves watching on like members of a jury.

Ruby Bentall (Esther Rubenstein) in THE RUBENSTEIN KISS. Credit Scott Rylander

Leading the cast as the Rubensteins are Ruby Bentall and Henry Proffit who have really great chemistry together and deliver emotionally strong performances throughout the play. In the supporting cast, Eva-Jane Willis gives a really strong performance as Esther’s sister in law Rachel, who takes us on a journey from young and in love girl to a hardened mother. Honestly, the transformation she delivers in one scene showing this is incredible. But I have to say I was particularly impressed with Katie Eldred, who plays Anna, a young history teacher with an interest in the Rubensteins. Given this is her professional debut, she gives an explosive performance to start her career off with. There is one moment in the show where she has a realisation and her acting, possibly combined with the lighting, was so strong it was like you could see her face go pale right on the spot. Also, special mention to Dario Coates who is honestly one of London theatre’s hidden talents and he especially shines in this.

If you’re looking for a play to really sink your teeth into, head down to the Southwark Playhouse and go see this fantastic, first rate revival.

Until next time,


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