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Jump! (Newcastle)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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How do a suicidal double act, three good-time girls and a pair of amateur hit men’s lives collide in this play set on Tyneside at New Years Eve? Lisa McGee makes the seemingly impossible possible with this clever, sharp and witty play.

The intertwining stories of two boyish hit men repaying a debt, three friends waiting for their companion to celebrate the New Year and two strangers contemplating a fatal jump off the High Level Bridge plays out at the Live’s intimate main theatre. With a two-tier stage and the audience poised in a cabaret-style seating, prepare to be thrust into the fast paced action.

The excellent Harry Hepple as Ross and James Baxter as Johnny set us off on our journey for the evening. Their on stage chemistry immediately takes you into the situation as they ponder whether they can go through with their task. Hepple and Baxter bounce off each other with one quip and joke after the next to make fun of their grim situation.

The arrival of the good time girls, Dara, Hannah and Marie (Laura Norton, Bronagh Taggart and Vicky Elliott respectively) livens up the mood and you’re soon engaged with their personalities as they debate whether to wait for their companion or party on without her. Norton, Taggart and Elliott effortlessly captivate your attention; Elliott’s particular dry delivery standing out.

The weaker of the dialogue is reserved for Neil Grainger and Frances McNamee, as Pearce and Greta. Meeting on the High Level Bridge and both with the intention of jumping into the Tyne, their scenes, played out on the higher level of the stage with excellent effect, are somewhat slow and disappointing.

Dubbed as Tarantino inspired, it is only mid way through the story do you realise things aren’t playing out quite like you thought and it takes you a few minutes to get back on track with the story. Yet this somehow adds to the appeal, as you’re now not quite sure what’s going to come next.

Not for those easily offended by swearing, McGee’s clever writing is enhanced by the simple yet clever sets and effective lighting techniques, allowing the transition between scenes to take place quickly.


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