Rachel Creeger is moving her arms so animatedly when talking about her new stand-up show Hinayni! that she’s concerned the passers-by will be put off attending the show that evening.
She performed it at the Edinburgh Fringe in August, making it her 10th time visiting the festival in various capacities including writer, director, producer and most recently, performer.
Hinayni! is coming to Manchester this Sunday as part of the Women in Comedy Festival.
Hinayni translates in English to, “Behold, here I am” – a fitting title for a comic who delves more into her adolescence in her new show, giving the audience a deeper understanding of the only Orthodox Jewish female comedian on the British stand-up circuit.
Despite running a stand-up show at The Adam and Eve pub in Mill Hill since 2011, Rachel didn’t pursue stand up full-time until 2016. That year, Ria Lina won the best comedy award for her show partly written with and solely directed by Rachel.
“That was the first time I really kind of had a bit of an itch about the fact that I was writing words with and for other people that I possibly would have liked to have said myself.”
The decision came full circle when a year later, Rachel won the same award, this time for her own solo show, It’s no Job for a Nice Jewish Girl.
Rachel likes to talk about dark subjects on stage, but feels that some level of audience uncomfortability comes from people’s perceptions of Orthodox Jewish people.
“I think people often find subjects I discuss uncomfortable because they’re not used to seeing an Orthodox Jewish woman on stage talking about real stuff.
“It’s not a common thing. I’m the only one on the mainstream comedy circuit.”
TERRY’S CHOCOLATE ORANGE
Rachel went to Israel earlier this year to perform her 2017 show, an experience she described as “incredible” – despite having family and friends in Israel however she says she’s no “celebrity”.
Meanwhile touring a place where you aren’t well known wasn’t as hard as she thought.
“The tour did really, really well and we sold out a few of the venues including some of the bigger venues and it was a really exciting experience. It was so welcoming.”
Despite the tour’s success, Rachel did find herself being upstaged by a piece of confectionary she brought with her in an attempt to bridge the cultural gap. She has a story in the show involving a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and she would bring one out onto the stage so people knew what she was referring to.
It was a big mistake.
“Every time I brought this Terry’s Chocolate Orange out there was a massive cheer from all the British people. That got the biggest round of applause and cheer of anything in the show including anything I could have possibly said.”
That might sound bad enough, but Rachel said that after the show people wanted photos with the chocolate treat.
‘WEVE GOT THE FLOOR NOW’
Rachel believes that the Women in Comedy Festival is important because of the prejudices that still follow female comedians.
“I think until the time comes where people stop finding it unusual that there are women in comedy, I think we need to bring the Comedy Festival and things like it.
“It’s just about being given access to what was for years and years a very male dominated space.
“The club that I run is run 50:50 across the year. We have the same amount of headliners who are male as female. I’m talking about identifying as male and female as well, which is the same for the Women in Comedy Festival.
“We’ve got the floor now, so we need to take that voice and we need to do what we can with it. So I think that it is very, very important that we back each other.”
You can buy tickets for Rachel’s show by clicking here.