Sex, Lies and Regal Japes; The story of Esther, the sex-crazed king and his evil counsellor

David Aaronovitch , Debbie Chazen, Anita Diamant, Irving Finkel, Assaf Gavron, Fariborz Kiani, Kathy Lette, Lemez Lovas, Simon Schama, Udi Sharabani, Miki Shaw, David Schneider

28/02/2010 3:00 pm

A Purim Spiel, with a contemporary twist, bringing a little bit of Persia to Bloomsbury, with a backbeat of Iranian rhythms and all hosted by our favourite modern-day Sheherazade, David Schneider. Unmasking the Book of Esther we revealed the story behind the story of Purim, hatching all-new conspiracy theories and, in the spirit of the festival, blurring boundaries between good and evil, sacred and profane. Bringing the world of inversions, masks and hidden meanings to life was our all-star cast.

David Aaronovitch 

David Aaronovitch is a writer and broadcaster on culture, international affairs, politics and the media. A Times columnist, his books include Voodoo Histories. He runs. Or tries to.

Debbie Chazen

Debbie Chazen is a comedian and actress. Her credits include Mike Leigh’sTopsy Turvy; the BBC sketch show Tittybangbang; Doctor Who;Coronation Street;and the stage version of Calendar Girls.

Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is a prizewinning journalist. She is the author of three bestselling novels, The Red Tent,Good Harbour and The Last Days of Dogtown. She has also written six books about contemporary jewish practice and a collection of essays, Pitching My Tent.

Irving Finkel

Dr Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian (i.e. Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian) script, languages and cultures Department: Middle East at the British Museum, headquartered in London’s Bloomsbury. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection – some 130,000 pieces – of any modern museum. This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join to one another.

Assaf Gavron

Assaf Gavron is an award-winning Israeli novelist, translator and musician, currently teaching at the University of Nebraska. He has written five novels, a collection of short stories and recently co-edited the anthology Tel Aviv Noir.

Fariborz Kiani

Fariborz Kiani fled Iran in the late 70s. A deep passion for classical Persian music led to the setting up of Nava Art Group. He has also set up the Safar Ensemble, a group that uses medieval instruments to demonstrate the link between the musical traditions of the east and the west.

Kathy Lette

Kathy Lette has written 12 best selling novels, including Puberty Blues, which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series, Mad Cows (the film starred Joanna Lumley), How to Kill Your Husband (recently staged by the Victorian Opera) and To Love, Honour and Betray (soon to be a BBC series). Her latest, The Boy Who Fell To Earth is a romantic comedy about a single mother bringing up a child with autism. Her novels have been published in 17 languages.

Lemez Lovas

Lemez Lovas, a UK Jewish music pioneer, founded and wrote/arranged 3 albums for Oi Va Voi (triple BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards nominees); composes for film and theatre (currently Persian epic Shahnameh at London\'s National Theatre), and is English songwriter for international artists (Sony BMG / EMI). Current projects include the Yiddish Twist Orchestra - inspired by Willy Bergman, the tragically neglected East End rock\'n\'roll hero; Shtetl Superstars, a modern day ska-gypsy Fiddler On The Roof; and a major art installation celebrating the Rag Trade.

Simon Schama

Simon Schama is Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. A writer, journalist and broadcaster, he has written and presented 40 films for the BBC, including The Story of the Jews (based on his two-volume work of the same name), Citizens and Rough Crossings. He recently curated The Face of Britain for the National Portrait Gallery and created the book and television series of the same name.

Udi Sharabani

Udi Sharabani is a journalist, script writer, artist and ex-footballer. He performs spoken word and poetry and is currently writing his debut novel, about a footballer.

Miki Shaw

Miki Shaw is a visual artist, animator and graphic designer. She specialises in creating unique and eclectic visuals for live events, from clubs to children\'s theatre. Since 2007 she has been the JCC\'s resident \"imagician\" and regularly VJs as part of the Klezmer-House group GhettoPlotz.

David Schneider

David Schneider researched a PhD in Yiddish drama at Oxford before becoming the hilarious writer of – and actor and comedian in – award-winning comedy shows and films such as I’m Alan Partridge and Mission Impossible.