“You’re having some kind of crisis.”
“It’s called being fifty. You must be having it too.”
Jumpy is the next play on the Lyceum’s 16/17 season after The Suppliant Women. A completely different production to the ancient Greek play and one that is a very strong addition to their season. A comedy with a strong cast and a very relatable plot it is one of the most vibrant and polished productions to be on the Lyceum stage in a long time.
April de Angelis’s play is an honest and funny look at family life, middle-aged crises, teenage angst and marriage problems. Directed by Cora Bissett it is extremely refreshing to see a woman’s work on stage directed by a woman. The humour and emotion woven through the piece has come from someone with experience and who handles this comedic gold of a play with ease and understanding. The script is extremely well rounded with a bit of everything for everyone, it could easily be put on an amateur stage and still carry itself with aplomb.
The cast were extremely strong all round. They were clearly well rehearsed and were very at home in their characters resulting in extremely believable and relatable performances. Pauline Knowles shone on stage as Hilary the main character, going through a middle-aged crisis and dealing with arguably one of the most challenging parts of raising a child: the teenage years. Pile on marriage problems with husband Mark, Stephen McCole, and the allure of flirty Roland, Richard Conlon, then suddenly Hilary has a lot on her plate. With this sort of play there is a slight tendency of the playwright to throw every single issue a family could possibly face into one story which although isn’t too likely to happen in real life provides an active busy plotline. In all honesty it was very cinematic to watch – quite reminiscent of the modern day television series. Very easy to follow and enjoyable to sit back and watch. A special mention must go to Molly Vevers who played Hilary’s daughter, Tilly. The relationship between Knowles and Vevers was strong and powerful on stage, their arguments and reunions were real and heartfelt.
The set represented the chaos of the family perfectly with a variety of furniture stacked precariously on top of each other, a moveable bed that slid in and out of the audiences view was an extremely useful part of set. Music was another effective way they managed to set the scene – a range of modern music and seventies/eighties it reflected the way Hilary was sometimes stuck in the past and other times dragged into the modern day. Lighting as well was very cleverly manipulated to create different effects most comically in Gail Watson’s character Frances’ burlesque showdowns.
A strong production with comedy, honesty and relatability on its side, Jumpy is an excellent example of a polished show.