The Jumble Theatre Company are a self-led, inter-generational community theatre group,that collaborate regularly at the Jackson Lane theatre and studio space.
It serves as a creative output not only for Director Michael Idris and Producer Liz Hainsworth, but also to all participants involved. It’s an amazing way of keeping your creative soul alive through the medium of physical theatre, and seems to be an inventive gem in Highgate, London. Performing for two nights at the Courtyard Theatre in Shoreditch, The Jumble Theatre Company have put on a display of their work.
The theatre space is brilliant – perfect for physical theatre as it is minimalist, has a grungy vibe, with numerous spaces throughout its three levels.
STATES was in the very top ‘Studio’ space, sitting an audience of around eighty with tiered seating for the performance space on the ground. The set is a stained khaki backdrop surrounded by wooden household furniture, lightly lit with whites and blasts of colour, which makes the audience feel very inclusive. Instinctively we know the focus is on the actors and the text.
Fifteen of the most diverse group of people you have ever seen take the stage to perform stand-alone pieces that seem to set out to boggle the minds of the audience. Rather creatively through dance, poetry, music, duologues, choral singing, storytelling (I’ve probably missed a genre out, but you get the idea. There was a lot) the company pivot on the central theme of ‘Change’.
Initially we see the cast in their entirety creating a cacophony of noise around the idea of advertising. The cast then suddenly break into slow motion as we are depicted the theme by hype man, Andrew Lightfoot. The cast break off one by one, and then gradually reappear throughout the production to perform their pieces. Some solo, some in duologue; some snippets of text, some in their entirety; some completely collaborative and some very simplistic. The cast certainly install their two pence on the audience. Praise must be given to Director Idris – who also partakes in the performance – for his creativity in taking on the texts. Each seem bespoke in considering each person’s strengths and capabilities.
A stand out performance is from Habib Ouro who performs an indulgent self choreographed spoken word/dance piece about homeland, with some really skilful popping/locking, interpretative moves. A perfect example of how the company adhere to the individual creativity of the group.
Throughout the performance, we see the company tackle some risky topics – prostitution, mental health, identity – some executed with more commitment than others, but all done creatively posing questions to the audience. Another memorable piece involved Idris, Isabella Wise, and Gerry Carrol addressing the city of London directly as a person and picking at its scabs, to where London replies as a conscience. An incredible idea with so much punch, that I wish was explored more.
The whole production goes on as more of a showcase and example of this company’s work. We see Anna Petkoglo as a puppeteer who performs in Russian; Daniel Carter as a rhinoceros; Wise as a dominatrix; Eitan Amias as a dough eyed schoolboy and Carrol as a horny nun. Yep. You read all of that correctly. Intertwine all of the above with some famous writing including the likes of William Shakespeare, and you’ll be just as confused as I was.
Nevertheless, kudos to any company who are working the creative muscle for anyone who wishes to use it. The Jumble Theatre Company give that opportunity to the public, and work with and for their pool of people. Offering free weekly sessions with a harmonious and welcoming vibe, they seem to be a perfect creative output to anyone who has a passion for physical theatre – all levels and experience, and all shapes, ages and sizes welcome.
States is playing The Courtyard Theatre until Saturday 23 of April. For more information about The Jumble Theatre Company, see Jackson’s Lane theatre website.