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Review by Chris Geidner
Rating: (5 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!]
Monday, 10/17/2011, 7:30 PM
Feature presentation, $25 at Embassy of Israel
Hebrew with English subtitles
TIME FLIES – through the years and in the theater – when famed Israeli director Eytan Fox sets his sights on the coming-of-age story of a young, flamboyant gay boy who falls hopelessly in love with the military-bound – and muscle-bound – high-school sweetheart of his best girl friend.
The four-part, subtitled Israeli miniseries starring Ido Rosenberg as Meir lasts a brief two-and-a-half hours – an irresistible treat that has been compared to Glee but more closely resembles The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. While featuring the songs of Israeli pop star Svika Pick and including high-school drama, the story of Meir’s life as he grows from student to adulthood is more Felicia than Kurt.
The show opens with a young Meir (Amit Moris) cleaning with his mother (Maya Dagan), who might not exactly whistle while she works but does listen and sing to Pick’s music as she does so. When she leaves the house in the midst of a party – never to return, seemingly without reason – the story is set.
After Meir gets lost in Pick’s music with his best friend, a young Shuli (Noy Karako), the story fast-forwards to their last year of high school, with an out Meir and grown-up Shuli (Dana Frider) planning their graduation-night song – one of Pick’s, of course.
Enter Gavriel (Alon Levi), the hot jock who catches their eyes and steals their hearts. Although he starts dating Shuli almost immediately upon his entrance to the school and though he treats Meir horribly at that graduation-night party (think Carrie without the blood), Meir remains caught up in his affections for Gavriel – whom he calls Gabi.
Following the graduation-night blowup and with no real knowledge of what happened to his mother, Meir decides to head to Tel Aviv and seek her out by way of Pick, for whom he has convinced himself she must have sung as a back-up singer.
Although the show then takes off on Meir’s search for his mother, that almost becomes the backdrop for his entrée into the world of drag after he meets Ori (Yedidya Vital) when he goes to see Pick. Ori – drag name: Miss Sunshine – performs with The Holy Wigs, which Meir ends up joining.
After reconnecting with Shuli – and connecting with Gabi – it is only through his performance that Meir finally finds acceptance and gains the inner strength to confront his relationships – and to find, at last, his mother.