Tamsin Greig ‘cringingly funny’ as mid-life mum in Jumpy
Feminism and motherhood questioned in funniest play the West End has seen in ages
What you need to knowAfter a successful run at the Royal Court last autumn, Jumpy has transferred to the Duke of York Theatre in London’s West End. The play, written by April De Angelis and directed by Nina Raine, explores middle-class, middle-aged motherhood and its discontents.
Hilary, a former Greenham protester, is now 50 and locked in battle with her highly-sexed teenage daughter, and coping with the ravages of age.
Tamsin Greig (Black Books, Green Wing) plays Hilary, Bel Powley her daughter Tilly (above left, with Greig) and Doon Mackichan her best friend Frances. Amanda Root takes over the role of Bea, mother of Tilly’s boyfriend.
What the critics like
This is the funniest new play the West End has seen in ages, says Dominic Cavendish in The Daily Telegraph. It’s also painfully acute with insight to match its wit. It asks what happened to feminism, but also speaks to anyone who has mothered or been mothered and “anyone reaching for another glass of white wine after work to get them through it all”.
This is a deft take on female dreads and moth-eaten idealism, says Libby Purves in The Times. It also asks, in a sharp, brave way, whether middle-aged parents confuse moral and safety concerns about young love with something close to envy. Tamsin Greig is “cringingly funny”.
It’s all about loss, says Lyn Gardner in The Guardian - loss of principles, loss of control over children, loss of love, and loss of the gains made by feminism. It’s held together by Greig, “who adroitly plays the role for laughs, but also movingly suggests a woman in mourning for her lost self”.
What they don’t like
This play could be more than fluff, says Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail. But the male roles are a collection of loose ends, a vain actor, a student toyboy, and a husband who gets to do nothing exciting except barbecue. “It should be an indictment of feminism’s failures, so it’s a shame it fails to jump to greater heights.” ·