The one with the funny girl from Smack the Pony in it?
The Royal Court have recently welcomed their production of Jerusalem back to the West End after continual successes wherever it is homed, but what is nice to see is that standing proud at the head of Sloane Square The Royal Court have another winner on their hand.
Written by April De Angelis, this humorous play of two acts follows the life of a fifty 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 as the mother role and 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 to 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 fifty in a very different way than that of her friend. Single and without children, with a commitment to keep herself in shape, she very much continues to surprise… including trying out a hilarious Burlesque routine for everyone for a full five minutes of stage time that only Mackichan could commit to without corpsing on stage. Having not realised Mackichan was in the production the moment she marched on to the stage and joined Greig you can quickly appreciate that the pair will have you in stitches.
With this fine established cast of fifty something’s on stage they are supported by a wonderful group of young talent. Bel Powley plays a vile caricature of a parents worse 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, as a parent, or the frustrations we all had as a teen.
Jumpy, a title which is explained in the last few moments is a wonderful piece of real theatre. Literally 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, which unearths more than the first perception, Jumpy is a wonderful piece that throughout the journey provides you with two and a half hours of entertainment.