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Jumpy review at Theatr Clwyd, Mold – ‘an assured revival’

Philip Wright and Sara Stewar in Jumpy at Theatr Clwyd, Mold. Photo: Manuel Harlan Philip Wright and Sara Stewart in Jumpy at Theatr Clwyd, Mold. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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It has taken five years for April De Angelis’ hit Royal Court comedy to receive its regional première, but Lisa Spirling’s splendidly paced production is worth the wait.

Spirling brings a renewed sense of balance to jostling themes of inter-generational female empowerment and family crises revolving around the confused fragility of a feminist mum reaching an emotional jumping-off point at fifty – just when her daughter, Tilly, has turned into a terrifying teen going off hormonal rails of her own.

Polly Sullivan’s simple set design – a series of overlapping platforms – creates discreet pools of domestic intimacy within the Emlyn Williams Theatre’s big studio space, where the fiery mother-daughter relationship turns into a family battleground and everybody seems to be searching for a new sense of identity.

An excellent cast underplay the play’s soapy sit-com feel, while tapping into an underlying mis-match between former feminist ideals and a generation of girls more interested in sexting than protesting and taking the pill.

Sara Stewart is outstanding in the central role of Hilary, a one-time Greenham Common activist feeling unmoored from her sterile marriage. Funny and touching, her key scenes grappling with Charlotte Beaumont’s spectacularly stroppy Tilly blaze with the frustration of a woman adrift.

Kerry Peers hits the right raucous notes as the friend from Greenham days who sticks two fingers up at sexual politics by discovering liberation in over-sexualised burlesque. And there’s strong support from the men – including stand-out performances from Steven Elliott and Philip Wright as fathers and husbands who are equally at sea in a changing world.

Verdict
Assured revival that captures the simmering emotions and comic potential of the mid-life crisis
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