As Zeal-of-the-Land Busy and Ursula in Bartholomew Fair
So there’s Jenna Augen. We first see her as Zeal-of-the-Land-Busy, an American revivalist hypocrite updated from Jonson’s puritan and channelling a bit of W. C. Fields. And seemingly mad in sky blue and cirrus costumery as well as make-up. A fortune-teller told Dame Purecraft she’d never be happy unless she married one. Augen deploys a kind of drawling quick-change when required to turn adamantine precepts on their head. A beat and it’s flipped.
Augen’s other role – and this costume-change is a lightning-rod – is Ursula the pig-woman, a fantastical denizen of the great fair, someone whose puce costume and sores centrifuges all that explodes around her; and on her when she injures her leg chasing off Quarlous and Winwife. Augen’s Ursula is more compelling than her excellent fist at the puritan, whose nasty prescience Jonson skewers. This revivalist straw is too good-humoured; Ursula seethes with a touch of anguish ….
From Augen (above all) to Wyatt, they’re mesmerising. If only one could see it twice, it’s rarely mounted: but try it at least once.
-Simon Jenner, FringeReview UK
Jonson’s gloriously earthy, accessible, rich language roles off the tongue of Jenna Augen as the fearsome pork stall owner.
Jenna Augen is genuinely hilarious as American preacher Busy.
-Belinda L, The Londonist
As Daphna in Bad Jews
St. James Theatre –
To watch the superb Ms. Augen in full take-no-prisoners flow is to be sucked into the vortex of that rare stage creature who compels and repels in equal measure. Look away, and you find you cannot.
-Matt Wolf, The International New York Times
Jenna Augen is magnificent as Daphna, relentlessly pick-pick-picking away at her cousin with exceptional comic timing. And she is by no means unbearable, as Augen adds real depth to the character.
-Daisy Bowie-Sell, Time Out London
Jenna Augen is stunning as this smiley, spikey, self-righteous but wounded young woman.
-Dominic Maxwell, The Times of London
Augen’s performance is a real tour de force and it’s not hard to see why she won the UK Theatre Award for the play’s initial run at the Ustinov Studio, Bath last year.
-Ben Hewis, What’s On Stage
Daphna (Jenna Augen), caustic, funny and ferociously clever… It’s a visceral thrill to watch Daphna and Liam tear into each other, sometimes physically, over their respective lifestyle choices and a guilty pleasure to witness tuneless Melody’s doomed attempts at peace-making. Augen, reminiscent of Jenny Slate in that glorious recent film Obvious Child, is a terrific find.
-Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
Augen is particularly notable as Daphna: shrill and difficult, ragging on an issue or an exposed weakness like a dog with a bone, in a way that’s wincingly, irritatingly recognisable – there’s one in every family, right?
-Holly Williams, The Independent
Jenna Augen as, in the words of her beloved cousin, “super Jew” Daphna. Controlling, passive aggressive, patronising and an absolute master of humiliation, Augen plays the precocious Daphna with such passion that you can’t help but love her…..
Flawless performances and a script that zings off the stage, if you’re looking for an intelligent comedy then look no further. Spikey dialogue, complex characters and touching moments of unexpected poignancy make Michael Longhurst’s production as successful a knockout as one of Daphna’s comebacks..
-Charlotte Marshall, Official London Theatre
Daphna, played by Jenna Augen, is the dynamic female pre-graduate. Committed to rediscovering and foregrounding her religion she wants to up-sticks and move to Israel and her fictitious boyfriend. She is fiercely defensive of her standing and has her sights set on a controversial heirloom. Played to perfection Daphna is a true anti-hero, acerbic and deliberately disruptive.
-Annemarie Hiscott, London Theatre 1
It’s no surprise that Augen received a 2014 UK Theatre Award for her performance. She brings a vulnerability to the character that stops her being a monster.
-Sarah Cox, London Fringe Reviews
…Jenna Augen as, in the words of her beloved cousin, ‘super Jew’ Daphna. Controlling, passive aggressive, patronising and an absolute master of humiliation, Augen plays the precocious Daphna with such passion that you can’t help but love her. Until you bloody hate her that is… Ilan Goodman proves award-winning Augen’s match both in energy and despicableness as Daphna’s polar opposite Liam… Flawless performances and a script that zings off the stage, if you’re looking for an intelligent comedy then look no further. Spikey dialogue, complex characters and touching moments of unexpected poignancy make Michael Longhurst’s production as successful a knockout as one of Daphna’s comebacks.
-Charlotte Marshall, Official London Theatre
Michael Longhurst’s deft production responds with beautifully pitched performances. Jenna Augen as Daphna finds the vulnerability behind her caustic outbursts.
-Sarah Hemming, Financial Times of London
As the antagonistic and aggressive Daphna, Jenna Augen is a vitriolic thundercloud of repressed and hidden hated, jealousy and angst, while at the same time demonstrating an able wit, a keen and tenacious intelligence and endless capacity for jealousy and pain. It’s a wonderfully complex and intricate performance. Daphna is a difficult character to love, but Augen permits us to see why she should be tolerated, perhaps even admired. Given the writing, that is real skill.
-Stephen Collins, BritishTheatre.com
The acting is as impressive as the characters are complex… Most absorbing is Daphna (Jenna Augen), a highly troubled woman whose biting sarcasm and intolerable criticism of others only serves to appease her own confused sense of self-righteousness. Despite her unsympathetic nature, you can’t help but agree with her at times.
-Sophia Shluger, Londonist
Augen is perfect: a vulture of righteousness, she swoops around under a brilliantly unmanageable thatch of curly black hair which in itself enrages her older cousin Liam (christened Shlomo and keen to forget it). We are aware that the hellcat Daphna is privately unhappy, clinging to her racial and religious heritage like a liferaft.
-Libby Purves, TheatreCat.com
There’s Daphna, played by Jenna Augen, who won a fully deserved UK Theatre Award for her crackling performance.
-Christopher Hart, The Sunday Times, London
Crucially for a show where four actors simply talk in a room with little musical or visual accompaniment, the language and performances are razor sharp. “Super Jew” Daphna naturally steals the show, but Augen is superb: setting upon her prey with such lack of restraint it would make Larry David blush.
-Alex Bellotti, Ham&High Entertainment
Last chance February 28 to see Jenna Augen’s star-making turn in the London premiere at The St. James Theatre of the Off-Broadway hit “Bad Jews”; her excellent co-star is Ilan Goodman, son of Olivier-winning actor Henry Goodman.
-Matt Wolf, Broadway.com
Jenna Augen gives a particularly incredible performance as dislikeable Daphna, riddled with rage and all the clichés of Jewish women and liberal American college students. She’s feisty, confrontational and always ready with a snarky quip or question. She screams, “I’m not a dog!” at one point, but she sniffs out weakness like a bloodhound and attacks like a particularly savage Rottweiler.
-Rowena Hawkins, playstosee.com
For me, the star of the show was Jenna Augen as Daphna. Her portrayal is intense and in your face, but I also felt a great deal of sympathy for the character.
-Andrew Tomlins, WestEndFrame.com
Daphna, played with unalloyed gusto by Jenna Augen (like a whirlwind Barbra Streisand in ‘The Way We Were’ only with about ten times more cajones) is pitted against Liam (or Shlomo), her tense, nervy cousin (Ilan Goodman practically in meltdown mode) at a moment in their lives which sends them flying off into stratospheric recrimination and bile.
-Carole Woddis, Londongrip.co.uk
The four fine actors bring excellent lived-in characterizations to Harmon’s work. Jenna Augen is outstanding as Daphna, captivating in her cruelty but with touching hints at an underlying insecurity.
Daphna (a steamroller of a performance from Jenna Augen) loves to talk and to carp and kvetch. She is particularly vocal in her condemnation of Jonah’s brother, Liam, who failed to show up to the funeral. We dislike Daphna almost instantly; she is relentlessly egocentric and vicious, but Augen imbues her with a spark that makes the character fascinating. It’s like watching a predator setting its traps – you daren’t take your eyes off her.
-William Stafford, bumonseat.wordpress.com
Michael Longhurst’s assured production is flawlessly acted by Joe Coen and Ilan Goodman as the brothers and, in particular, Jenna Augen as Daphna. It is as much to Augen’s credit that she makes no attempt to soften her manipulative, malevolent character as it is to Harmon’s that he refuses to give her the dreaded Broadway ‘redemptive’ moment.
-The Sunday Express via thisistheatre.com
As Daphna in Bad Jews
The Theatre Royal, Bath – Ustinov Studio
Daphna (superb Jenna Augen) is an intense, frizzy-haired and very voluble Vassar student…
There will be no justice in the world if this shockingly good production does not transfer to London.
-Paul Taylor, The Independent
In Michael Longhurst’s beautifully nuanced and paced production, our sympathies shift at disconcerting speed between Jenna Augen’s ingeniously sharp-tongued Daphna and Ilan Goodman’s splenetic and sweary Liam.
-Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
Miss Augen, a mass of dark curls and wide-popping-eyed frustration, gives a remarkable performance – a young Bette Midler springs to mind……….a fine dramatic creation.
Jenna Augen delivers an eye-popping performance.
-Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail
Jenna Augen conveys all Daphna’s needling assurance while hinting at her lurking insecurity…
Scalding rhetoric between hissing cousins.
The strength of the play lies in the vigour of their combat, which has something of the verbal firepower of Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
-Michael Billington, The Guardian
The four actors, particularly Jenna Augen’s Daphna and Ilan Goodman… as Liam, bring the play to vivid and often shocking life.
Fighting’s what she’s (Daphna) about, and verbally she is very VERY good at it.
-Gay Pirrie-Weir, The Fine Times Recorder
Jenna Augen is perfectly at home in the skin of would-be Israeli émigré, Daphna, and brings out with great clarity this complex character’s numerous facets; emotional strength, vulnerability, snobbishness, ruthlessness – to name but four.
-Graham Wyles, StageTalkMagazine.com
The acting is superb. Jenna Augen is magnificent as the aggressive Daphna, and the antipathy between her and Liam (the equally impressive Ilan Goodman) is electrifying.
-Jackie Chappell, listomaniabath.com
I haven’t a single quibble with this marvelous production. It’s directed by Michael Longhurst, Ilan Goodman as Liam and Jenna Augen as Daphna are riveting in the lead roles.
She’s (Daphna) a buzz of vituperative rage with a tongue like a heat-seeking missile…
Her exchanges with Melody, all loaded with gratuitous malice, are especially funny.
-Crysse, My Blog, a Writer’s Life
This is an excellent play, the fine cast carry the script with great energy and power, and the blistering dialogue bounces off the walls of the confined space. Jenna Augen (Daphna) is the fiercely aggressive “Uber-Jew”, her self-righteousness stifling everyone around her, coiling and lashing out rattlesnake style, never allowing anyone in. Liam takes on Daphna in a series of tirades, wounding and tearing at each other with acidic power.
Director Michael Longhurst has lifted this challenging and thought provoking play off the page, and the young cast control the piece with great clarity.
-Petra Schofield, Theatrebath.co.uk
The cast is superb and Jenna Augen and Ilan Goodman in particular portray the friction between Daphna and Liam, two sides of the same spirited coin, with great conviction. The tension is palpable…
-Claire Hayes, The Public Review