Jumpy (2016), Lyceum, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Royal Lyceum Theatre Company
April De Angelis (writer), Cora Bissett (director), Jean Chan (design), Tim Mascall (lighting design), Sarah Vernon (burlesque choreographer), E J Boyle (movement)

Richard Conlon (Roland), Cameron Crighton (Cam), Kieran Gallagher (Josh), Dani Heron (Lyndsay), Pauline Knowles (Hilary), Stephen McCole (Mark), Lucianne McEvoy (Bea), Molly Vevers (Tilly), and Gail Watson (Frances).
Running time

Based on her own personal experience, April De Angelis’ play Jumpy deals primarily with an anxious pre-menopausal mother Hilary (Pauline Knowles), her lippy and sexually precocious teenage daughter Tilly (Molly Vevers) and their daily travails of existing under the one roof with diverse world views.

In her youth, Hilary‘s feminist consciousness had been raised and she wonders where her liberal parenting has gone wrong when she sees her teenage daughter Tilly focussed on what Hilary sees as a shallow life as Tilly directs her anger at her and not at society’s ills.

Her marriage is at the stage where she and her husband Mark (Stephen McCole) read together in bed instead of having sex and her job’s on the line. It’s not exactly a happy ship and there’s a lot of wine-swilling throughout.

Kicking off in 2004 and running till 2010, and against a set made of a skewed mountain of tasteful beach toned (washed out?) Ikea/Habitat style furniture, the play takes the form of a series of short acts or sketches that are separated by a set of music that has its own Spotify list.

Lighting that had revealed peeling wallpaper dims to create silhouettes as the scenes shift. Old newspapers and a kind of rubbly beach lie at the edge of the stage where a real travel barbecue appears and real salad and crisps are eaten as the characters escape the city.

At home, there is real teeth brushing, real drinks and ready meals coming out of a real fridge and microwave between some clichéd script that gives a sense of a TV sitcom rather than a theatrical drama, albeit a comic one. The few points of high drama are quickly dissipated and the sketches just keep coming.

This exposé of middle class mid-life naval gazing and domestic courtroom style dramas is nevertheless brilliantly performed across the board by the flawless cast with some male angst from Richard Conlon as sex starved actor Roland to a random piece of ‘reconstructed’ burlesque comically performed by Gail Watson as sexy singleton Frances and some seriously weird but funny attitude from Lucianne McEvoy as Bea the teenage Mum.

Jumpy originally showed at London’s Royal Court before moving to the West End where it was played out with its characters living in the southern Capital. For this Scottish production, the setting has been superimposed on Glasgow with a few concessions made to place names though it’s maybe more likely that former CND protester Hilary but would have gone to Faslane from Glasgow rather than to Greenham and a barbecue weekend away is more likely to be on Arran rather than Carnoustie. Small but notable points.

For anyone either going through or having gone through this kind of domestic crisis, it’s easy to imagine it will feel like it’s been written just for them and could well tickle their funny bone in recognition. Otherwise, you may have a laughter by-pass and feel it’s a bit, well, jumpy.

29 October - 12 November 2016 7:30 pm Tuesday to Saturday 2pm Wednesdays and Saturdays