Saturday, 15 October 2011


With Eleanor to the Royal Court this evening to see April De Angelis' new play Jumpy which stars Tamsin Greig . It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, a smart play and some wonderful acting.

Greig plays former Greenham protester Hilary, who's just turned fifty. She's on the verge of being made unemployed from her job working in an Education Support Unit, is struggling to maintain an active sex life with her calm but unambitious husband Mark and most pressing of all has lost the ability to communicate with her teenage daughter Tilly.

Whilst Tilly negotiates her own private path through her late teens, refusing parental intimacy; Hilary is left anxiously longing for new meanings and adventures to make herself feel attractive and needed as she heads towards senior status. What will she have left once her daughter flies the nest? Moment to moment Greig beautifully finds the edginess of a woman who feels the best is passing without a fanfare.

Elsewhere the acting is uniformly good but it's worth highlighting the wonderful cameo from Doon Mackickhan, as Hilary's old University friend Frances, who believes that performing your gender is the best way to feel valued and is retraining as a burlesque dancer in an effort to ironically deconstruct the male gaze. The results are, predictably, hysterical.

De Angelis writes with touching care, gentle parody and a great deal of humour, seaming brilliantly the intergenerational divide, to create a poignant portrait of both the achievements and disappointments of eighties feminism. This isn't theatre to shatter the world, but rather to remind us all of our touching ridiculousness as we struggle to deal gracefully with change and the passing of time.


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