And so ‘Jumpy’, the 105th Matchbox Theatre production has come to an end. A departure in terms of tone and subject matter but undeniably a successful run that entertained, amused and provoked much thought throughout its three day run. Presented with minimal set, the piece flowed slickly through the crises of Hilary and the various characters with whom her mid-life intersects. Adultery, teen pregnancy, the waywardness of youth, feminism and belly dancing (obviously) were amongst the themes on show and there is no question that the audience enjoyed the strength of cast performance alongside the fluidity of the set transferring from bedroom to beach, coffee shop to cottage. Very much an ensemble piece, there was a great camaraderie within the company and crew, though there is no question that K’s dynamic, engaging, nuanced performance as Hilary was the glue that held the storytelling together – that, and her lightning fast skill at slipping in and out of different costumes for virtually every scene. This, along with beautifully apposite sound and unflashy but perfect lighting, ensured that this would be a soiree to remember. I have said before that Vicky Pearce brings a holistic vision to any plays that she directs and that was very much the case with ‘Jumpy’. Having worked on it from the very beginning the concept remained firm and, despite challenges, remained so even if a short cut was prompted here or a rethink there.
So, another great show.
Nonetheless, to lour some clouds upon our house, it must be said that much of its success was ‘in spite of’ rather then ‘because’. These challenges thrown up are becoming increasingly problematic and this in turn throws up questions, questions that prompt some weighty discussion….
But that is for the near future! Suffice to say that the group’s reputation for quality and varied theatre remains safe, not because of my own subjective bias, but from the numerous positive comments and observations made by the exiting crowd across all three days. And, as is customary on such occasions there are many memorable moments that made ‘Jumpy’ such a great night, some of which can be seen above.