Jess and Joe want to tell us their story. They are friends but they weren’t at the beginning, but they’ll get to that point.
A story of love, friendship, speedos and scotch eggs; this show is special.
Jess holidays in Norfolk every year before spending quality time with her family in Lake Garda. Joe lives on a farm and knows an awful lot about agriculture. Their story is sweet but packs an almighty punch. Zoe Cooper’s writing is so naturalistic it’s often difficult to know what is scripted and what is the actors thinking on the fly and responding to the audience.
Nicola Coughlan and Rhys Isaac-Jones (Jess and Joe respectively) are perfect as the awkward teenagers. From the moment they come on you believe they are just desperate to tell us their story, in their own special way. They play other characters and each other, and this works wonderfully. The way the two swap between voices and mannerisms is incredible. The falling apart and put back together of their relationship is played out before us in a very moving way. You laugh with them but your heart breaks for them as well, in multiple places.
Derek Bond's direction is wonderful. The way the actors use the space and play with each other is a joy to watch. The set design is sparse; a couple of chairs, some microphones and amps, plus a pile of dirt. Every single piece is used many times in many ways. The lights appear to be controlled by the cast, but if this is not the case the lighting operative is doing a fantastic job! Not one cue dropped or lost. Same goes for the sound.
Jess and Joe Forever is exceptional. We invest in the characters and want everything to turn out for the best. A gorgeously written piece of theatre performed by two very talented actors. A story of love, friendship, speedos and scotch eggs; this show is special.