The Royal Court has recently welcomed its production of Jerusalem back to the West End after continual successes wherever it is homed, but how nice to see that The Royal Court has another winner on its hands.
Jumpy, written by April De Angelis, is a humorous play of two acts following the life of a 50-something lady called Hilary (Tamsin Greig) as she reaches breaking point with an unruly sixteen year old daughter and a marriage which is a little stale. Her work situation is more than unstable as recent cuts suggest her job is on the line, and her habit of the odd glass of wine seems the perfect solution to a stressful day and a stressful home.
The key to this play is that it is real, it is a wonderfully observed slice of real life, which in turn makes some of the simplest remarks very amusing. Tamsin Greig, as the mother struggling to keep the family unit going, enters the stage having had a day which resulted in her having a panic attack on the train and quickly establishing that a mid-life crisis is imminent. Greig plays the role with a genuine empathy along with her fantastic comic wit and perfect delivery – you warm very quickly to this character who has next to no time off stage. Paired with Ewan Stewart, as husband Mark, the pair present a glimpse of what is happening in households across the country.
The guilty pleasure of the piece, and also an opportunity to spice up the storyline a little, comes from the delight that is Doon Mackichan, taking on the role of Hilary’s best friend; she deals with life at 50 in a very different way to her friend. Single and without children, with a commitment to keep herself in shape, she very much continues to surprise… including a hilarious burlesque routine for a full five minutes of stage time that only Mackichan could commit to without corpsing on stage. The moment she marched on to the stage and joined Greig you can quickly appreciate that the pair will have you in stitches.
This fine cast of established actors are supported by a wonderful group of young talent. Bel Powley plays a vile caricature of a parent’s worst nightmare in a performance that undoubtedly goes along the biggest journey in the piece. Michael Marcus as the young student and James Musgrave as the strikingly handsome boyfriend all add to the reality of a piece we can all relate to in some way.
Jumpy, a title which is explained in the last few moments is a wonderful piece of real theatre. Taking you on a journey through a household’s period in time, you cannot help but laugh out loud as you relate to the people who play out before you. Set against a spectacular design by Lizzie Clachan, Jumpy is a wonderful piece that provides you with two and a half hours of entertainment.
Jumpy is playing at the Royal Court Theatre until 19th November. For more information and tickets see the Royal Court Theatre website. Don’t forget that all tickets on Mondays are £10.