Play for Today: Bar Mitzvah Boy

Bar Mitzvah Boy.  Broadcast 14 September1976.  Directed by Michael Tuchner.  Written by Jack Rosenthal.  Duration: 75 minutes.

Cast: Jeremy Steyn (Eliot Green), Maria Charles (Rita Green), Bernard Spear (Victor Green), Adrienne Posta (Lesley Green), Jonathan Lynn (Harold).

Jack Rosenthal’s work is accessible to all audiences, which is part of its charm, and even work with a heavily Jewish theme, like Bar Mitzvah Boy, can speak to anyone.

Young Eliot has reached thirteen and his family are rushing around arranging the most important day in his life – but does he have other plans? Mother, father, sister, sister’s boyfriend, grandpa all have a part to play in Eliot’s transition from boy to man – and with names like Maria Charles in the cast, you know this is going to be fun.

Perhaps Bar Mitzvah Boy does have an inflated reputation because it is one of the best known television plays – however, I think it hasn’t dated a bit and is still extremely entertaining. It has a lot to say about family, tradition, and adolescence much of which still applies today even outside of Jewish families.