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“Café Named Desire” (previously known as "Jew You Love Me?") is an original musical about love, sexuality, and self-discovery. It tells the story of a local café in Golders Green, and the intertwining lives of its customers. Though many of the people who frequent the café are of Jewish/Israeli background, the café is owned by Samira, a queer woman who comes from a strict Muslim background, which she abandoned following the backlash of her coming out as a teen. Sam runs the café with her two flatmates – Gabi; a Jewish professional searching for love in the wrong places, and Will; a bisexual musician whose quest for a Bohemian lifestyle leaves little room for emotional attachment.

We also get to know some of the café’s regulars, including Ethan and Alon, a gay couple struggling with the concepts of monogamy and heteronormativity. We then meet Rachel and Yaakov, an elderly Jewish couple determined to make the most of the time they have left together, and their grand-daughter Bracha, a closeted religious university student who is torn between her religious and sexual identities.

As the musical unfolds, the lives of our characters are weaved together, creating three main storylines: A love triangle turned polyamorous “throuple” between Ethan, Alon, and Will; Gabi and Sam’s failed attempt at turning their friendship into a relationship; and Bracha’s ongoing struggle with her sexuality and its subsequent effects on her relationships with her grandparents and the patrons of the café.

The show was written in a devised process with our cast, it tackled modern issues of love, religion and sexuality. It has since performed successfully in London and in Israel in 2018. After some rewrites the musical is now called “Café Named Desire”. 

Writers - David Djemal, Shachar Shamai
Additional songs by - Emily Rose-Simons (“Swipe to the Right”, “Blessing”)
Developed and produced in a collaborative process with the original cast: Martha Pothen (Sam), Ashley Racov (Gabi), Jack Reitman (Will), Batel Israel (Rachel), Josh Becker (Yakov), Alex Ayliffe (Ethan), Ido Gonen (Alon), Tanya Truman (Bracha), and Adi Loya (Dina).

Demo Album
(first draft)

From the reviews

LONDON PUB THEATRES (Sepy Baghaei)  “a little musical with a big heart” 

"It is clear that Djemal and Shamai understand the ingredients of a successful musical. There is tension in each of the three major threads, broken up by a number of strong comedic interludes’. 

Building on the music, there was an overall sense of joy, celebration and positivity throughout which was lovely to see.
Overall, The Jewish Cabaret have pulled off something quite special. Jew You Love Me? simultaneously delves into what it can mean to look for love as a member of the British-Jewish community, while presenting narratives that can also be related to by audience members of non-Jewish backgrounds."

The full review: (Michael Davis)

"Jew You Love Me? has the distinction of not only being a British musical, it focuses on the seldom explored subject of being Jewish in the UK – as part of society as a whole and within their own community. Set within Golders Green in north London, the fictitious nexus of this neighbourhood is a café called ‘Desire’." 

The full review: (Chris Omaweng)

"Religious traditions are brought into question in Jew You Love Me?, a musical that ultimately sends out a message that ... Love expresses itself in many different ways, and various forms of sexual orientations and consented relationships all have their place in the modern world, and should be celebrated. 
Because of the convincing plotlines, the show overall leaves its audiences with a mixture of feelings. This is not a straightforward comedy. It is more of a multi-layered tale of lust, love and loss... there is still much to be taken away from a compelling and accessible production that refreshingly departs from ‘A meets B and they live happily ever after in perpetual bliss’."

The full review:

Life in the cheap seats - Webcowgirl's London Theatre Reviews
"And LOOK, here I was in London in 2018, and the community that I am not a part of but which lives side by side with me is doing their own theater, theater that represents THEM, and I am having this opportunity to get to learn about another culture and other values and, look at Bracha, the same conflicts and heartaches that have been going on for centuries when you want to fit in, you want to do right, but you just can’t seem to live up to what is expected of you."

The full review:

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