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Jumpy review at Jerwood Theatre Downstairs

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Playwright April De Angelis returns to the Royal Court with a new comedy about being 50, told from a woman’s – and a parent’s – point of view. Middle-class Hilary, who is married to Mark, has reached this dangerous age and her daughter, Tilly, is at the scarcely safer age of 15. When the teenager brings home her equally underage boyfriend, Josh, Hilary thinks it’s time to meet Josh’s parents, Roland and Bea.

De Angelis’ comedy of manners and mores is genuinely hilarious, and explores the ups and downs of being a parent, and of being a teenager as well. The fact that Hilary’s best friend, Frances, is an actor – a profession shared by Roland – means that there are plenty of good jokes about the theatre too. There was a palpable feeling of recognition in the audience on press night.

Highpoints of this very funny evening include the character of Lyndsey, a friend of Tilly’s who’s extravagantly pregnant, and a striptease routine by Frances which must be the most laugh-out-loud sequence in the Royal Court’s recent history. At the same time, serious issues about teenage pregnancy, marital tensions, ironic post-feminism, liberal parenting and mother-and-daughter relationships are examined with a beautifully light touch.

Tamsin Greig is outstanding as Hilary, her worried frown gradually turning into the darkness of despair as the evening progresses. In Nina Raine’s vivid and highly enjoyable production, she gets great support from Doon Mackichan as Frances, Bel Powley as Tilly, and Ewan Stewart and Richard Lintern as Mark and Roland. Seline Hizli plays Lyndsey and Michael Marcus makes his debut as a young student. Jumpy is a delightfully funny, truthful and entertaining play that finishes in an unexpectedly warmhearted way.

Production Information

Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, October 13-November 19

April De Angelis
Nina Raine
Royal Court
Cast includes
Tamsin Greig, Doon Mackichan, Bel Powley, Ewan Stewart
Running time
2hrs 20mins

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