Fraught mother and daughter relationships have been a rich source of material for scriptwriters for a very long time. Many will recall the multi-Academy Award winning Terms of Endearment featuring Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger.
Prominent British playwright April De Angelis dives into this very deep well with her play JUMPY. A hit when it was first performed on the West End in 2011, the script is currently in the process of being developed into a mainstream television series.
Sydney theatregoers currently have the opportunity to see this very clever play’s Australian premiere production at the Sydney Opera House.
De Angelis will be pleased to know that the play’s ‘outing’ in Australia is an impressive and strong one.
One of Australia’s finest actress’s Pamela Rabe has, of recent times, proved herself to be a very adept director and she is the play’s helmer.
Rabe has brought together a very good cast to do justice to De Angelis’s very well crafted piece of theatre.
As mum Hilary and daughter Tilly, Jane Turner and Brenna Harding transverse not only their feisty relationship but also very substantial personal journeys that audiences will quickly relate to. De Angelis also deftly keeps us in suspense as to how mother and daughter will end up after all the dramas that they go through. De Angelis also works in plenty of light and shade with some fine comic scenes.
Jane’s Hilary has crashed into turning 50 and is mightily unimpressed. Her marriage has long lost its lustre and she is beginning to look elsewhere for affection. Her best friend Frances- played with panache by Marina Prior- is trying to lead her into finding the lost fountain of youth by trying out different burlesque routines.
Brenna’s Tilly finds both her mum and school a drag, and gets by being very promiscuous- much to her mother’s consternation, and by hanging out with her very cool best friend, Lyndsey, beautifully played by Tariro Mavondo, who faces challenges of her own. The audience meet her as she is about to give birth to her first child.
Laurence Boxhall, Caroline Brazier, John Lloyd Fillinghgam, David Tredinnick and Dylan Watson round out the cast, giving accomplished performances.
Theatregoers who visit JUMPY are in for a real treat with the production’s very clever, fluid staging. Different settings such as kitchen, living area , dining room are wheeled out onto the stage by way of a revolve which in a cute touch Jane Turner always appears to be just be able to navigate. The only permanent ‘fixture’ to the set is the down stage staircase to the bedrooms.
A Sydney Theatre Company and Adshel presentation of a Melbourne Theatre Company production, April De Angelis’ JUMPY opened at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House on the 28th March and is playing until the 16th May. Well worth a visit. Great entertainment value.