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Jumpy at Melville Theatre

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Comedy in mother-daughter truths as age starts to bite
Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
Laura Mercer, left, Cassandra Gorman, Peter Clark, Amy Hoy and Tracy Tye in a beach scene from Jumpy.


The perils of growing up and growing old are being explored in a frank and funny family drama at Melville Theatre this November and December. Written by April de Angelis and directed by Miles Openshaw, Jumpy focuses on 50-year-old Hilary who is in an unexciting marriage, faces redundancy at work and has a volatile relationship with her rebellious teenage daughter.

When Hilary discovers her daughter is pregnant, she embarks on a journey for self-understanding – with surprising and comical results. "The thing I really like about this play is how it focuses on the ordinariness of life," Miles said.

"It looks at the conflict of generational ideas and makes us examine how we navigate through family crises while still retaining a level of intimacy and love. Through Hilary, we see how difficult it is to let go of the roles that have become so much a part of her identity while she tries to find a new role in a society that worships youthfulness."

Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
Jumpy director Miles Openshaw, third from left at back, with his cast.


A director, producer, writer and actor for the past 15 years, Miles has worked extensively in professional, community and youth theatre in London. "With Jumpy, it's great to be working on a play that gives two strong female characters in their 50s centre-stage, allowing us to hear their voices," he said.

"They're voices that are so frequently overlooked in contemporary drama. The main challenge is establishing a believable central mother-daughter relationship that's not just based on them shouting at each other – it needs to have some depth and vulnerability to it."

Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
Jumpy focuses on Hilary (Cassandra Gorman, left), her unexciting marriage to Mark (Tracy Tye) and rebellious teenage daughter Tilly (Amy Hoy).


Cassandra Gorman plays Hilary. "She is a multifaceted character," Cassandra said. "Hilary is a woman who's struggling to cope with managing her relationship with her teenage daughter, her stagnant marriage, growing older and the pressures of holding on to her job in a tough economy.

"She holds on dearly to feminist values but struggles to find common ground in a world that has changed since her golden years. Given I'm in every scene, the challenge will be to reflect the changing environment and my demeanour in a matter of minutes.

"One moment I'm laughing and the next I'm a wrung-out mess. I'm thrilled I can use all my training as an actor to bring this role to life."

Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
Cam (Oscar Shiel, left) and Hilary (Cassandra Gorman) get to know each other a little better in Jumpy.


Over the past few years, Cassandra has performed in productions with Melville, Harbour and Phoenix Theatres and ICW Productions, after previously appearing with the Burnside Players in South Australia. She has received several awards and nominations at the annual Finley Awards and Hills Festival of Theatre.

"I am sure we have all thought, at some point, that our own families' lives would make for a great soap opera," Cassandra said. "Jumpy explores the dynamics of a family that we can all relate to in some way. There are shocking discoveries, dramatic relationship clashes and dalliances with adultery – and you'll laugh, cry and empathise.

Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
Roland (Peter Clark, left) gets a surprise from Frances (Laura Mercer, left) and Hilary (Cassandra Gorman) in Jumpy.

"You will follow the characters' journey of self-discovery, compromise and learning to accept you cannot control everything in life. Beautifully and cleverly written by April de Angelis, this play is my proudest work to date."

Jumpy plays 8pm November 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, December 1 and 2 with a 2pm matinee November 26. Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au. Please note: the play has adult themes and some coarse language. Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.

Jumpy, Melville Theatre, comedy, play, performing arts, humour, April de Angelis, funny, drama
In Jumpy, Hilary (Cassandra Gorman, left) is bored with her life with her husband Mark (Tracy Tye).
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Why? It’s a delightful tale of middle-age anguish that provides lots of genuine laughter and plenty to reflect on.
When: 8pm November 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, December 1 & 2; 2pm November 26
Phone: 9330 4565
Where: Melville Theatre, corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra
Cost: $20, $15 concession
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