Writer April De Angelis, director Nina Raine and actors Tamsin Greig and Doon Mackichan in discussion with the Royal Court’s Associate Director, Simon Godwin.… Read more
A mother, a wife, and fifty, Hilary once protested at Greenham. Now her protests tend to focus on persuading her teenage daughter to go out fully clothed.
A frank and funny family drama questioning parental anxieties and life after fifty.
April De Angelis’ work at the Royal Court includes Wild East, Catch (a collaboration with four other female playwrights). Her credits elsewhere include Calais (Paines Plough), Country (Southwark Playhouse), Playhouse Creatures (Haymarket Theatre), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint theatre company)and an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Repertory Theatre).
Nina Raine directs. Both a writer and a director, her last play Tribes at the Royal Court was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Play. She also directed Alia Bano’s Shades at the Royal Court in 2009, which went on to win Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards. Her other credits include Tiger Country (Hampstead Theatre), which she both wrote and directed. She also directed her debut play Rabbit,(Old Red Lion & Trafalgar Studios).
Age Guidance 14+
Running time 2hrs 30mins approx, including one interval
Select a Date
Dates in October
|Thu 13 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available, Preview Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 14 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available, Preview Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 15 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available, Preview Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Mon 17 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Preview Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10. Tickets released 9am|
|Tue 18 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available, Preview Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Wed 19 Oct 2011||7:00pm||Press Night||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 20 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 21 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 22 Oct 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Saturday Matinees||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 22 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Concessions Available||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Mon 24 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10. Tickets released 9am|
|Tue 25 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Wed 26 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 27 Oct 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Mid-Week Matinee||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 27 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 28 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 29 Oct 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Saturday Matinees||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 29 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Mon 31 Oct 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10. Tickets released 9am|
Dates in November
|Tue 1 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Wed 2 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 3 Nov 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Mid-Week Matinee||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 3 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Post-Show Talk||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 4 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 5 Nov 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Saturday Matinees||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 5 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Mon 7 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10. Tickets released 9am|
|Tue 8 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Post-Show Talk||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Wed 9 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 10 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 11 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 12 Nov 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Saturday Matinees||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 12 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Mon 14 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£10. Tickets released 9am|
|Tue 15 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Captioned Performance||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Wed 16 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Post-Show Talk||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Thu 17 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Fri 18 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 19 Nov 2011||2:30pm||Concessions Available, Audio Described Performance, Saturday Matinees||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
|Sat 19 Nov 2011||7:30pm||Jerwood Theatre Downstairs||£28, £20, £12|
Sold out Performances
Mondays all seats £10 (available on the day of perf from 9am online, 10am in-person.)
Concessions £5 off top two prices (available in advance for all performances until 22 Oct inclusive and all matinees. For all other performances, available on a standby basis on the day)
25s and under £8 (ID required, not bookable online)
School and HE Groups of 8+ 50% off top two prices (available Tuesday–Friday)
Groups of 6+ £5 off top price (available Tuesday–Friday)
Access £12 (plus a companion at the same rate)
4 stars The Mail On Sunday, By Georgina Brown, 30th October 2011
Mike Leigh’s devastating new play, Grief, at the National Theatre, is about a mother and her 15-year-old daughter failing to bridge the generation gap during the Fifties. Victoria wants a duffel coat and uses that awful new word ‘OK’. Her mother wants her baby back.
At the Royal Court, April de Angelis’s screamingly funny and moving middle-class family drama, Jumpy, brings the situation right up to date. Tilly, also 15, dresses like a hooker and is sleeping with her boyfriend. Her mother wants another glass of anaesthetising wine.
Both plays end with a gunshot, but Jumpy, mercifully, is a comedy, with de Angelis evidently more optimistic than Leigh that parents and offspring can get through the trial of the teenage years and emerge more or less intact.
Needless to say, Hilary, in an outstanding performance by Tamsin Greig, spends much of the play weeping. She is feeling battered by being 50, by being made redundant, by her daughter who disgusts her, by a stale marriage and by the failure of her husband to stand up to their daughter.
Her best friend Frances thinks that becoming a burlesque dancer is a way to rage against the dying of the light and, indeed, to boost her sex appeal. Doon Mackichan, dressed to thrill in a leather corset, stamping her high-heeled hoof and waggling the ponytail attached to her bottom, couldn’t be more hilariously embarrassing.
While the title of the play refers to Tilly’s beloved cuddly toy monkey, who shares her bed with her and the boyfriend, it also describes Hilary’s rattled state of mind. She wants to accept her daughter’s sexualisation and precocious ways – two of the many volcanic changes in society since she was a frumpy feminist protesting at Greenham Common – but it’s a terrible struggle.
In a feeble attempt to keep tabs on a situation that she lost control of long ago, she insists that the boyfriend stays at their house, thereby subjecting herself and her husband to some noisy nights.
When Tilly becomes pregnant, she says her daughter must decide what to do, but of course, in her wretched heart of hearts she longs to lay down the law.
Greig is quite brilliant at expressing the gap between what she says and how she feels. Nina Raine’s punchy production would be even more bruising if the men – Tilly’s father (in the blinds business, which says everything) and the boyfriend’s dad (a philandering flake of an actor) – were as well drawn.
But Bel Powley’s Tilly exudes toxic teenage egotism from every pore, her nose in her texts as she strops around telling her mother how wrinkly her neck is.
I heard several people in the audience claiming that De Angelis must have had an ear to their door. Certainly, she hits a thousand nerves and makes the audience giggle, gasp and groan in painful recognition. It must transfer to the West End. 4 stars Financial Times, By Sarah Hemming, 21st October 2011
There’s a large bed lurking behind a screen on the set for April De Angelis’s Jumpy at the Royal Court. It seems symbolic. Sex looms large in this entertaining and perceptive comedy about modern living. Too much, too little, too soon, too late – what happens, or doesn’t happen, in the bedroom frazzles the nerves of all the characters, but particularly those of Hilary. As a 50-year-old woman, she is struggling to keep several shows on the road: her job, her marriage, her body and her relationship with her 15-year-old daughter.
Tamsin Greig is outstanding in this wittily and sympathetically drawn part. On her first entrance, pale and harassed, she makes straight for the wine without removing her coat. Instantly, she has your affection and she holds it throughout, as her character tries to hang on to her liberal and feminist principles, while navigating the unfamiliar waters of ageing, insecurity and a child’s precarious transition to adulthood. Her marriage to Mark (Ewan Stewart) has settled into something comfortable but unexciting, like an old winter coat, while her daughter, Tilly (Bel Powley), has transformed into a scowling, scantily dressed stranger, who is discovering the joys of sex, loudly, with similarly under-aged Josh.
Hilary, who protested at Greenham Common in her own youth, is bewildered and aghast at the gap between her values and those of her daughter. What should she do? De Angelis explores this question in a series of droll, wonderfully observed scenes, as Hilary takes on Josh’s venomous mother (Sarah Woodward) and egocentric father (Richard Lintern) and confides in her long-time girlfriend Frances (Doon Mackichan, raunchily funny). These encounters are sharply delivered in Nina Raine’s production, sending ripples of agonised recognition round the auditorium. “I never let myself go,” declares Frances. “Neither have I,” mumbles Hilary, through a mouthful of crisps. The temperature gradually changes, however, as relationships begin to buckle and the problems become more acute.
The second half drops off a bit: there are rather too many plot-twists, some of them bizarre and unlikely. And some of the characterisation is extreme. But still this is a compassionate, very funny and finally moving play about modern living. Behind the laughs, De Angelis quietly raises some serious questions about how we parent, grow up and grow old, and contributes to the ongoing exploration at this theatre of the difficulty of holding on to principles in a changing world. 4 stars Metro, By Claire Allfree, 21st October 2011
What happened to the Greenham Common Women? In the case of Tamsin Greig’s Hilary, they got saddled with a marriage, that’s run out of steam, a promiscuous teenage daughter who doesn’t even know what Greenham Common was and a job market that thinks you’re over the hill at 50.
April de Angelis’s acidically funny new play is a sideways glance at the legacy of 1970s feminism masquerading as a sitcom-style comedy about a midlife crisis, and given a sparkling production from Nina Raine.
Greig proves she can do way more than funny as the touchingly beleaguered Hilary, trying to manage Bel Powley’s superbly brattish Tilly (oversexed and underage), while also wondering how to kick-start a marriage in which sex has given way to reading Dickens aloud in bed.
She has great on-stage chemistry, too, with Doon Mackichan, Hilary’s actress best friend Frances who, in the name of ‘sexual empowerment’, has developed a totally terrifying burlesque act in a desperate attempt to revive her career.
Modern feminism is full of mixed messages, is Angelis’s point – and no more so than for today’s teenage girls. And if this play is more about the diagnosis than the solution, it’s so sharp on the minefield of modern parenting (in which liberal values come up alarmingly short) and so rich in the firecracker one liners, that you end up forgiving it. 4 stars The Daily Telegraph, By Charles Spenser, 20th October 2011
The Royal Court – on a roll with Jerusalem now enjoying a second run in the West End – has another hit on its hands with April De Angelis’s new play, Jumpy.
It’s funny, deliciously rude and at times piercingly moving, and stars that superb comic actress Tamsin Greig, giving a performance to match her award-winning Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing for the RSC a few years ago.
This time, however, the play is bang up to date and will make any parent with a teenager in the family laugh with recognition, wince with horror and, if you are as soft as I am, cry a little too.
Greig plays Hilary who once protested at Greenham Common but is now a married, 50-year- old middle class London mum with a shop-owner husband ( Ewan Stewart) and a stroppy 15-year-old daughter who dresses like a prostitute and is discovered to be sleeping with her boyfriend (also 15). Needless to say the wayward young Tilly treats her anxious Mum with cruel contempt.
On one level this is a classic mid-life crisis play. Hilary experiences panic attacks on the Tube, worries that she might lose her job with a literacy support group and when she gets back from the shops is desperate for a glass of wine or three.
It’s also a portrait of a marriage where passion, if not affection, has long since run dry, and it reaches breaking point as the couple agonise over their daughter, whose stroppiness and promiscuity become a major cause for concern.
There are scenes here which will strike a chord of recognition with any parents who have tried to talk seriously to their teenage children only to find that the blighters are far more interested in perusing their text messages, and to any couple for whom the idea of sex after a long day at work is simply too exhausting to contemplate.
But there are also wonderful scenes of comedy in which Hilary runs up against the gorgon mother of the youth who has deflowered her daughter (a splendidly acidic turn from Sarah Woodward) only to discover that the gorgon’s husband, a self-regarding actor, is hitting on her.
There were many moments when Jumpy made me snort with laughter, not least when Hilary’s best friend (Doon Mackichan), a man hungry-actress desperate to defy the ravages of time, shows off the excruciatingly embarrassing burlesque routine that she fondly hopes will revive her flagging career.
But though the laughs keep coming the play movingly captures the inequality of love between parents and their children, and there is no mistaking the emotional truth of the writing.
Greig is superb, brilliantly combining scenes of exasperated comedy with moments of exhausted despair, and the scenes with her daughter, played with a spot–on mixture of insolence and vulnerability by Bel Powley are beautifully true and touching.
Nina Raine’s production deftly blends the play’s comedy and deeper feeling while De Angelis’s keeps you guessing how it will all turn out until the very end. 4 stars The Times, By Libby Purves, 20th October 2011
Writers of contemporary stage comedies have a problem: we are used to good TV sitcoms. So when you present two women bemoaning 50th birthdays, one single and desperate, one with a teenager and dull husband, then add a handsome divorcing neighbour — well, you see the trap. We mustn’t feel as if we might as well stay home with a DVD. It has to be chokingly funny, or embrace surreal flashbacks, or deepen and darken into greater significance. Not easy.
So a bouquet to playwright April De Angelis, and to Nina Raine’s deft direction. In Jumpy, they tick all three boxes, and express a female predicament without whining. Tamsin Greig is perfect as the mother, Hilary, misty-eyed about Greenham, losing her job in a literacy project and married to Mark, a furnishings salesman who was once a fiery art student (ah, life’s attrition!). Their daughter parties a lot and doesn’t revise.
The 15-year-old Tilly is played with magnificent stalking defiance by Bel Powley in maximum eyeliner and minimum clothes. She has a placid pregnant pal, wonderfully realised by Seline Hizli, whose boy isn’t around “cos he’s dead, innhe?”. Stabbed. Tilly has embarked on sex; Hilary and Mark are terribly modern and discuss the “issues” with the boy’s parents, a chill furious she-banker and a shallow charming actor (Richard Lintern gleefully plays to everyone’s idea of how actors behave). In a fabulous moment Tilly confronts her mother with rage at this interference, drawing the best laugh of the evening with a horrified “What did you wear?” But she’s a child: she bewails a break-up with “his name’s all over my humanities folder, it really hurts!” The cast should adjust their timing: laughs were so loud on the first night that some top lines were drowned.
The climax of Act I — Lizzie Clachan’s bare domestic set having opened rather beautifully to a seaside panorama — involve five priceless minutes that I must not spoil, except to say with a shudder that Doon Mackichan as the single friend illustrates the dire effect that Madonna and Lady Gaga have had on the stiff-knee generation.
The second act flies beyond sitcom without losing comic pace. Things happen and questions tease: do middle-aged parents confuse moral and safety concerns with secret envy? Is it all right to sag a bit and stay married out of cowardice? Cleverly, there are three moments which could end it: one darkly farcical, one sentimentally tender, the last a truthful, funny tribute to love and resignation. 4 stars The Evening Standard, By Henry Hitchings, 20th October 2011
Tamsin Greig is a superb comic performer, and in this new play by April De Angelis she’s on top form. As middle-class mother Hilary, exhausted by parenthood and everyday anxieties, she is blissfully funny but also genuinely moving.
Hilary’s is a hollow existence, and Lizzie Clachan’s bare set suggests this perfectly: everything personal and interesting is tucked away in cupboards, allowing the living space to be maintained in a state of bleached banality.
It’s a laboratory for angst and brisk, nervy conversation. Hilary’s husband Mark (Ewan Stewart) is inert, and her work seems noble but tiring; she’d rather glug white wine and exchange pungent opinions with her sassy, yet often laughable, friend Frances.
Above all she is shocked and fascinated by her strident, sulky daughter Tilly, who is 15 and full of worldly contempt. The interest is not reciprocated. Hilary is appalled by the provocative way her daughter dresses, which she associates – rightly, as it turns out – with the risk of her getting into trouble with boys. Tilly, played with gut-wrenching precision by Bel Powley, reserves her energy for ridiculing her mother’s taste in jeans.
Tilly’s relationship with morose-looking Josh brings Hilary into contact with parents whose approach is very different from her own: steely Bea (an excellent Sarah Woodward) and flirtatious actor Roland (the well-cast Richard Lintern).
Misunderstandings proliferate, and Nina Raine’s snappy production accentuates the first half’s rich comedy. In the second the intensity drops, as the writing takes improbable and unsatisfying turns – including some ludicrous business with a gun. Yet the humour remains.
This is a shrewdly observed picture of midlife crisis and the travails of marriage, as well as a striking depiction of the gap – in both time and ideology – between women such as Hilary, who camped at Greenham Common, and their daughters, whose lives revolve around Facebook, texting and nightclubs.
Doon Mackichan’s supple Frances, who is blessed with a lot of the zingiest lines, declares “Being a woman and getting old is a disaster”. De Angelis puts this claim to the test. The play’s politics are slight, and its feminism isn’t exactly heavyweight. But for the most part it’s perceptive, vigorous and entertaining. 4 stars Daily Express, By Simon Edge, 20th October 2011
When Hilary was a student she mad day trips to Greenham Common and dreamed of a utopian future. Now She’s 50, about to lose her job and has a husband who won’t tell her she could pass for 43 even to cheer her up. Worse, she has a tearaway teenage daughter. April De Angelis’ cruelly funny new play focuses on the agony of a particular generation of women.Coming from a right-on, sexually liberated generation who kicked against the repressive morals of their own parents, they struggle to cope with the rampant precocity of their daughters.
In one scene Hilary and her unsupportive husband Mark sit with clenched teeth listening to the bouncing bed springs as 15-year-old Tilly couples loudly in the next room, because at least they know where she is. It’s left to Roland, the father of Tilly’s on-off boyfriend Josh, to voice the obvious forbidden thought when he explodes: “All this liberal s***_ we should just beat them senseless like our parents did”. Packed with smart one-liners and horribly keen observation, the play is a vehicle for the impressive talents of Tamsin Greig, of TV’s Green Wing.
With her tombstone face and empty black eyes, she gets right into Hilary’s harrowed, affection-craving soul yet manages to dig comedy out of the angst. She is magnificently supported by Doon MacKichan, of Smack the Pony, as her man-eating best friend Frances. Bel Powley brings flashes of vulnerability to the bratty Tilly, while Seline Hizli is irrepressibly cheery as her dim friend Lyndsey. Ewan Stewart and Richard Lintern provide solid support as Mark and Roland, even if this is not a play to over-concern itself with male characters. Directed by Nina Raine and designed by Lizzie Clachan – her minimalist North London interior cunningly unfolds into a Norfork beach – this is a rapier-sharp comedy that will ring horribly true with the parents of teenagers.
The Guardian, by Michael Billington, 20th October 2011
April de Angelis has written a funny, generous play about a woman – a left-leaning feminist who once protested at Greenham Common – facing a crisis at the age of 50.
In the old days, the heroine would be a harassed Knightsbridge mother coping with a reluctant debutante daughter and a philandering husband. In De Angelis’s version, the protagonist, Hilary, lives in Walthamstow and has to deal with the likely loss of her job in education, a dwindling marriage and a mutinous teenage daughter. Once upon a time, a crisis would arise when the daughter would burst in through the french windows and breathlessly announce: “Mummy, I think I’m preggers.” Although today the language is more blunt, the action still hinges on how Hilary, now separated from her husband, confronts the problem of dealing with her impregnated offspring.
Even if, at heart, the play is deeply traditional, it shows a sharp awareness of the plight of the modern middle-aged woman. De Angelis’s Hilary knows what she doesn’t want to be: a sexually aggressive figure like her friend, Frances, who at one point launches into a deeply embarrassing burlesque routine. But it is Hilary’s uncertainty as to how she should behave that gives the play its bounce. There’s a very funny scene when Hilary, hoping to read Great Expectations to her husband in bed, is driven frantic by the sound of creaking springs from her daughter’s adjacent room. And, as Hilary’s marriage declines, she handles the sexual advances of a predatory actor with a mixture of fascination and alarm. Like all De Angelis’s heroines, she is torn, as Dominic Dromgoole once pointed out, between empowerment and debilitation.
This makes the role an ideal vehicle for Tamsin Greig, who has a natural gift for conveying strength and vulnerability at the same time. She has the air of a tough cookie, yet looks suitably shamefaced when forced by her best friend to dress as a French maid and guiltily evades the glances of a boy student who lovingly tends her wounded leg. Where other actors take you by storm, Greig conquers by stealth. She is well supported by Doon Mackichan as her sexually adventurous confidante, Bel Powley as her chippy daughter and Richard Lintern as her neurotic suitor, while Nina Raine’s direction is crisp, clear and confident. But, although the play visibly works, I still scented a strong whiff of the Shaftesbury Avenue of yesteryear.
- Writer April De Angelis, director Nina Raine and actors Tamsin Greig and Doon Mackichan in discussion with the Royal Court’s Associate Director, Simon Godwin. Download this Podcast
Thu 13 Oct, 7:30pm Fri 14 Oct, 7:30pm Sat 15 Oct, 7:30pm Tue 18 Oct, 7:30pm Thu 20 Oct, 7:30pm Fri 21 Oct, 7:30pm Sat 22 Oct, 2:30pm Sat 22 Oct, 7:30pm Thu 27 Oct, 2:30pm Sat 29 Oct, 2:30pm Thu 3 Nov, 2:30pm Sat 5 Nov, 2:30pm Sat 12 Nov, 2:30pm Sat 19 Nov, 2:30pm
Thu 13 Oct, 7:30pm Fri 14 Oct, 7:30pm Sat 15 Oct, 7:30pm Mon 17 Oct, 7:30pm Tue 18 Oct, 7:30pm
Wed 19 Oct, 7:00pm
Sat 22 Oct, 2:30pm Sat 29 Oct, 2:30pm Sat 5 Nov, 2:30pm Sat 12 Nov, 2:30pm Sat 19 Nov, 2:30pm
Thu 27 Oct, 2:30pm Thu 3 Nov, 2:30pm
Thu 3 Nov, 7:30pm Tue 8 Nov, 7:30pm Wed 16 Nov, 7:30pm
Tue 15 Nov, 7:30pm
Audio Described Performance
Sat 19 Nov, 2:30pm