ACCLAIMED writer Mike Leigh's first new play in more than a decade is both a moving and funny tale of three generations in a Jewish middle-class family.

Set against a year's worth of political and historical events, the play covers a wide range of issues such as politics, religion and the question of Israel and the Middle East.

But where the play wins the audience over is in using these major issues to explore the importance of family relationships.

Caroline Gruber and Allan Corduner are perfectly cast in the roles of Rachel and Danny, the 50-something parents of a non-practising Jewish family, and reveal how hard it is to keep everyone happy.

But then son Josh, who at 28 is still living at home and has no job despite a first class honours degree, starts to attend the synagogue and this leads the whole family to question their own religious beliefs.

Josh, played by Ben Caplan, steals the show as the ascerbic son who hopes he can find happiness in religion.

His idealistic sister Tammy, played with fire by Alexis Zegerman, returns from her travels with Israeli boyfriend Tzachi, played by Nitzan Sharron, in tow. Both bring a more liberal perspective to the arguments.

Their grandfather Dave, superbly played by John Burgess, is a wonderful grumpy old man who cannot understand why Josh has turned to religion.

In the end it is the death of his grandmother and arrival of long-lost aunt Michelle, played by the spirited Samantha Spiro, that brings things to a head and makes everyone - Josh included - realise how secure and loving their family really is. AG