13 August 2016
Welcome to the Canning Town Schvitz, East London’s last authentic bath house. Writer and performer Nick Cassenbaum takes us on a visit there with his grandfather and two of his oldest friends, via memories of summer camps, barbers and Spurs, and an East End fast disappearing.
The rituals of the Schvitz work brilliantly in the slightly shabby setting of the Dissecting Room at Summerhall, and Cassenbaum is a warm, friendly host.
We do breathing exercises with him, he divides us into groups, but ultimately we are his tribe as he opens his life story to us. And under it all is the fear that this culture is disappearing.
As he asks who will carry on the tradition of schmesis, to massage a fellow man, he chose me. Despite the public situation, I felt honoured to do it. This is a warm, informative, lovely show, and you would do well to spend an hour at the baths!