You get a strong sense of what Jumpy is going to be like from Jean Chan’s impressive set—two jumbled piles of household goods, surrounded by an off-kilter frame of plain wall. Tim Mascall’s lighting is also bold, colourful and dipping sufficiently to indicate scene changes while cast members enter and leave among the shadows. Nor does director Cora Bissett forget about our ears: with a soundtrack ranging from Janis Joplin and the B-52s to Neil Young and Gloria Gaynor, you can listen to the Jumpy playlist afterwards on Spotify. It’s big, bold and wonderfully self-aware. And trying just that little bit too hard.

It’s big, bold and wonderfully self-aware.

Jumpy is advertised as a comedy, and it’s certainly full of laughs, but all too many are resolutely rooted in sitcom cliché. Yes, April De Angelis must be praised for putting the fractious relationship between a mother and daughter—which you could easily imagine being at best a subplot in the likes of male-focused My Family—bang in the centre, but she employs too many aspects of the default sitcom which just feel unnatural; not least the “amusing” friend whose attempts at burlesque come with a demeaning desperation that’s hardly worth the one genuinely heartfelt line it inspires. Plus, surely in 2016, we can do better than mock the women of the Greenham Common protest camp for looking a tad masculine?

Yes, Jumpy is a sharply directed, well performed piece; if Richard Conlon as divorcee Roland and Gail Watson as “best friend” Frances are occasionally a too big to be entirely believable, there are always the solid foundations provided by Pauline Knowles nuanced, unaffected performance as the stressed-out mother Hilary—reaching 50 and wondering what the hell happened to her hopes and dreams—and the understated support provided by Stephen McCole as her “chillaxed” husband Mark. The younger characters in the story are also served well; Molly Vevers gives real heart and depth to what could all too easily have been just another cliched angry teenager Lilly, while Keiran Gallagher (as monosyllabic goth boyfriend Josh) and Cameron Crighton (as the, relatively speaking, “maturer” Cam) hold the stage well.

The young men aren’t really given that much to do, admittedly, but that’s because the genuine heart of the story is the troubled relationship between a mother inherently reluctant to let go of their child and the child increasingly desperate to be accepted as the young adult they’re in the process of becoming. It’s a story as old as time (or at least the 20th century), but that doesn’t automatically mean De Angelis is saying something profound by focusing on it. The script at times feels unfocused and tonally adrift, with only the director and her good ensemble cast holding things together. The downside is that, heartfelt laughs notwithstanding, this production can’t help but feels as if it’s just trying a bit too hard to be entirely successful.

Reviews by Paul Fisher Cockburn


One of Two

Scottish Storytelling Centre

Moira in Lockdown

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Love and Sex on the Spectrum

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

“You’re having some kind of crisis.”

“It’s called being fifty. You must be having it too.”

A deliciously irreverent hit West End comedy of mid-life crisis, teenage rebellion and a mother-daughter relationship in meltdown. Hilary is 50, a strong intelligent woman who once protested at Greenham Common. Then she felt she could change the world, now, she can’t even change her daughters mind about wearing that skirt. Hilary’s job is on the line, her marriage is on life support, her best friend won’t grow up and her teenage daughter has gone off the rails…

If life begins at fifty, it’s off to a shaky start. April De Angelis’ frank and funny family drama charts the perils of growing up and growing old with refreshing candour in this instantly relatable look at mother-daughter relationships for anyone who has ever been tempted to open the wine before unpacking the shopping.

Most Popular See More

Mamma Mia!

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets