If you imagine Monica Gellar’s closet, filled with secrets and piled high with wine and Ikea furniture that could come crumbling down at any minute, then you can picture Jean Chan‘s set for Jumpy on The Lyceum stage. April De Angelis’ inspiring play, directed by Cora Bissett, explores the chaotic relationship between mother and daughter, Hilary and Tilly. They grew up in two completely different worlds, and as they are both reaching their next milestone their lives collide and crash. Like many of us, they need to take a step back and try to understand one another.
De Angelis was reaching 50 and her daughter was reaching 16 when she wrote this; her real experiences make her work so genuine and raw. It questions parenting techniques through two very different families, Tilly’s and her boyfriend Josh’s, both of which are very involved and controlling. Whether you relate to the stroppy teenager or stressed out parent, or perhaps both, this play will resonate with you. Mothers and daughters will especially appreciate it, as it explores territory that’s rarely looked at but very stimulating.
The play’s older generation are desperate to be young again, as they are appraised on their appearance; what’s left for them when they get old and have “vagina necks”? Similarly the younger generation are driven by the thoughts of others; they need to be trendy, which allows for a very interesting wardrobe for Tilly (Molly Vevers) and best friend/teenage mum Lyndsey (Dani Heron).
Hilary, played outstandingly by Pauline Knowles, needs to be a strong woman, to inspire and teach her daughter to forget the consumerism and think about feminism and politics. But Gail Watson’s character, the wacky friend and Burlesque dancer Frances, is the show stealer, and she has the most fabulous costume. She is single, a bit desperate and very awkward at the worst moments. Having no children she is oblivious to the madness going on outside of her own little world. Tilly, played by Vevers, is a stroppy madam who can’t keep her knickers on – think of a female Kevin and Perry. It’s absolutely hilarious but slightly far fetched. It takes until the second half though – after the strange, misplaced dance routine before the interval – for the actors to warm up and get into their characters.
Aside from the cringeworthy moments, and one too many ironically sexist jokes, this feminist comedy is hysterically entertaining. It will stay with you, it’s poignant and powerful, and the guilt was tangible. When Tilly comes home unaware of what she has put her parents through, Hilary truly feels like her daughter hates her and couldn’t care less. This is so important you may leave the theatre and want to call your families to remind them how much you care. It’s really that moving.