Jumpy (2 stars)


Middle-class malaise in messy comedy drama

April De Angelis' script, directed by Cora Bissettt, charts the trials of a dysfunctional family and the friends and loved-ones in and around their orbit. Hilary (Pauline Knowles) is an ageing feminist mum, whose liberal values sit wildly at odds with her slack-jawed and ungrateful daughter Tilly (Molly Vevers) with boyfriends who never seem to last longer than instagram selfies. Father Mark (Stephen McCole) is withdrawn and ineffectual, and his relationship with Hilary is increasingly strained.

Despite a wonderful cast, energetically directed by Bissett, a witty set designed by Jean Chan which looks like IKEA vomited a living room and some occasional great truths and zingers, the characterisation never elevates above lazy stereotypes. The worst examples are found in supporting characters, man-eating best friend Frances (Gail Watson) and ditzy Lindsay (Dani Heron), a pregnant working-class teen whose aspirations don't extend beyond becoming a WAG.

Frustratingly, the situations don't often ring true. In spite of throwing in miscarriages, firearms, inappropriate affairs and barbs at the predominance of youth culture, the characters rarely develop beyond mere functionality. Sitcom humour prevails, all more bitter lemon than bittersweet. A pity, as the first half promises so much ,and Knowles is superb right from her very first glug of cheap plonk.

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh (0131 248 4831) Oct 27–Nov 12.


Cora Bissett directs April De Angelis' comedy about a mother-daughter relationship in turmoil and the challenges the mother faces dealing with a truculent teenager. Featuring Pauline Knowles.

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