“You think ‘I’m being a strong woman’, that’s a misinterpretation…”
Not too much to say about this last minute revisit to Jumpy before it closed this weekend, aside from the predictability that I would end up there despite repeatedly assuring the world I wouldn’t. My original review from its run at the Royal Court can be read here and much of it still stands as my response was largely the same second time round and, rather pleasingly for a play in the West End, it was a sell-out. I was admittedly a little surprised when I first heard this would be one of the plays transferring to the Duke of York’s as whilst I found it good, I didn’t think it was necessarily that great (unlike many others).
But holding onto the vast majority of its cast (just two replacements were needed), April De Angelis’ play maintained its essential quality with a stirring central performance from Tamsin Greig as a woman in the midst of a mid-life crisis as crises with her teenage daughter, tensions with her husband and losing her job all leave her reeling. De Angelis wraps all of this into a comedy though and so there’s a lightness to the whole affair which at once feels like its strength and its weakness.
Greig is just perfect at conveying the tragicomedy of Hilary’s life, the bittersweet note of regret at what life has become especially since she dared to dream of so much more whilst at Greenham Common, suggests an intelligent depth to the play. But it is not one that is carried through, rather there are excursions into vaudevillian farce (which was enjoyable again but still feels anomalous, no matter how good Doon Mackichan is) and forced melodrama with the oddly extended second half and its random diversion. Amanda Root and Ben Lloyd Hughes were both good as the newcomers, fitting seamlessly into the cast and as the younger women, Bel Powley and Seline Hizli were both still vividly powerful.