Review of West End show Jumpy
Written by: Liz Stansfield
Date published: 09/20/2012
4/5 / 4/5 stars
"You're having some kind of crisis."
"It's called been 50, you must be having it too."
Hilary is 50 and in crisis mode - grumpy teenager, stale marriage and 'mental-pause' (as said teenager so charmingly puts it) all included.
Hilary used to protest for women's rights, and cares about literature. Now she's juggling a whole heap of trouble - redundancy, hormonal teenager Tilly, a marriage where the spark has fizzed off into the distance - all held together by her once a month refuge of best friend Frances coming around for a bottle of wine and a bowl of crisps as they watch Tilly totter out to meet boys in a top worn as a frock.
Played flawlessly by TV's Tamsin Greig (Black Books), Hilary tries to hold her family and friends together as they hurtle through mid-life crises, affairs, teenage pregnancies and borderline alcoholism, while attempting to find her own role in the gang as she turns 50 and realises, much to her horror, that her role of mum might becoming a little redundant. Just like her job, thanks to government cuts.
The men folk play second fiddle to a remarkable cast of women in this tale of family values. Bel Powley (teenager Tilly) has tears, texting and teen angst down to an art, while Doon (Smack the Pony) Mackichan's portrayal of highly sexed don't-want-to-be-50 Frances will strike a chord with anyone not ready to face their age, whatever decade it falls into.
There's a lot to fit into two hours, but the ups and downs of two years in the lives of Hilary, husband Mark and daughter Tilly are painfully recognisable, whether you're 15 or 50, as they explore modern motherhood and family ties in middle class suburbia.
Funny? Check. Relevant? Check. But with a storyline fit to bursting, Jumpy feels like it needs a little bit of a jump-start to get the action moving. But then again, so does Hilary's life, which could go one way or the other...
Jumpy is showing at the Duke of York's Theatre until November 3 2012. Tickets start from £15 with best price seats at £10 each, available in person only, at the box office from 10am on the day of the performance.
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