..and are all the good reviews paid for by the Royal Court? It seems to me to be very strange that all the obviously "professional" reviews are glowing, and the obviously "amateur" (me and rds and Coral) are negative. Hmmm. I wonder why that is..? - Simon
16 Mar 12
I’ve only been to the Royal Court Theatre at Sloane Square twice. The first time was in August 2011 for The Village Bike. It was superb. Very funny, very well-acted, a super cast, a dynamic script, edgy, irreverent and humorously moving. It was modern theatre at its best. The second time was for Jumpy. What a contrast! Jumpy was middle-class English TV sitcom comedy at its worst. Labored, predictable and completely lacking any of the charm and freshness that was a feature of The Village Bike. Please Royal Court try to be consistent! I know that it must be very hard to fulfill your mission of introducing new playwrights who in some way bring a new dimension to theatre, but surely it is not that hard to reject something that would easily be accepted by a totally undemanding TV sitcom selection committee for whom the target audience definition is “easily pleased from Welwyn Garden City, out on the town once a month, otherwise happy with TV pap”. I really hope that The Village Bike was the rule and Jumpy the exception. If it is the other way around, I am very pessimistic about the future of British theatre. - Simon
16 Mar 12
I am in two minds over this play. Yes, it has a fine performance from Tamsin Greig and some excellent support from Doon MacKichan - whom I suspect is where the sit-com critiscism is leveled at, but it's MY FAMILY on acid. Perhaps not the best fare for the RC, but I enjoyed it and the audience, the night I went, loved it. - rds
16 Nov 11
Billington got it. Why is this technically accomplished play on at the Court, and not at Hampstead or on Shaftesbury Avenue? Do we have any sense left of what the Court is for? - William
29 Oct 11
Yes alright we've seen Tamsin Greig being anxious and she's very good at it, again and again. Could we please see her do something different, she can you know. This show is just another BAD sitcom and that's what telly does.
So I won't mention the crap set with bad sightlines, actors not waiting for laughs and the risible script.
I expect MUCH better from the Court. - Coral
28 Oct 11
The roll at the Court continues. This is the seventh gem in the main house in less than two years – that’s some roll.
This one revolves around the mid-life crisis of Hilary and in particular her relationship with teenage daughter Tilly. Her marriage is dull, her job is at risk and her actor best friend is bonkers. What preoccupies her most, though, is her daughter – her schooling and her sexual awakening. Tilly’s best friend gets pregnant as she starts sleeping with boyfriend Josh and from here we’re on an emotional rollercoaster that brings in Josh’s parents and another boy who Tilly brings home. Even these very liberal middle class professionals are severely challenged by the awesome challenge of parenthood during these teenage years.
Anyone of a certain age (mine!), whether they’ve had kids or not, will find this all totally believable (I suspect playwright April de Angelis has written, at least in part, from experience), but anyone of any age will find much to enjoy here. The characterisations are terrific and the writing sharp and funny, but at times also very moving with a really heart-warming but unsentimental ending. Compared with the other five de Angelis plays I’ve seen, this is on another level altogether. Director Nina Raine has done a terrific job, with simple white settings from Lizzie Clachan which ensure the pace isn’t slowed down by scene changes (and with a very clever transformation to a seaside setting).
Tasmin Grieg has done some wonderful work in recent years – she was a great Beatrice for the RSC and followed this with a trio of excellent performances in modern plays – Gethsemane, God of Carnage and the under-rated The Little Dog Laughed – and here she is simply terrific. She IS Hilary; every expression, shrug and glance conveying what she’s going through. Bel Powley as Tilly and Seline Hizli as her friend Lyndsey are both outstanding, the former perfectly capturing the love / hate conflict that most teenagers go through with their parents. I also liked Richard Lintern and Sarah Woodward as Josh’s parents with different perspectives on their son’s responsibilities, and Doon Mackichan is a hoot as best friend Frances (to say more would constitute a spoiler).
This is a very satisfying evening of theatre – though-provoking & funny, leaving you with a warm glow and a sense of hope. Miss at your peril. - Gareth James
25 Oct 11
From the Orange Tree in the afternoon to the Royal Court for Jumpy which in many ways is very similar to How to Be Happy. This time it's Hilary (a superb Tamsin Greig) suffering a mid-life crisis, struggling with a marriage which is going through the motions and battling with a terrifyingly stroppy teenage daughter (an equally superb Bel Powley). The scenes between Hilary and Tilly are horribly realistic and frighteningly familiar, as are the ways Tilly plays her Mum and Dad off against each other (Ewan Stewart is the soft touch - oh dear, how true that is). Doon Mackichan is also hilarious (and devoid of embarrassment) as the increasingly desperate best friend and Seline Hizli offers a bright cameo as Lyndsey, Tilly's even shallower and celebrity obsessed schoolmate. Towards the end April De Angelis falters when she implausibly supplies Hilary with a much younger lover which is just a plot device for the final confrontation between her and Tilly. Nina Raine furthers her reputation as a director as well as a writer and it seems highly probable that Jumpy is already earmarked for a West End transfer even if it is not quite at the level of some of the new plays seen at the Court in the last year or so. - David Baxter
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