If you want to spend an great evening in Central London at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre watching a comical play with a loved one, friends, or as part of a family outing where even the littlest of children can engage with the characters and be blown away by dazzling acrobatics coupled with amusing scenes, then Korean Martial Arts Comedy Jump comes highly recommended and a must watch for all budding theatre goers. Spoken dialog is kept to a minimum, with the cast’s actions effectively doing the talking throughout this 80 minute performance set in the intimate Peacock Theatre.
Having had the opportunity to attend; my guest and I enjoyed every second of this acrobatic performance. The Peacock Theatre itself was decently sized but not overly large with the seating arranged to ensure even those seated within row z (at the back of the stalls) could still comfortably see the stage.
To help you get a little more familiar with the Korean Family that star in Jump, cast members portrays a strict, old school and traditional granddad, a somewhat goofy ish husband, his gusty and assertive wife, their beautiful daughter, their son-in-law who transforms from a shy and timid bookworm to a ruthless ninja when his glasses are taken off, their alcoholic nephew who basically stumbles around all day drinking, giggling and generally being a nuisance, two hilarious burglars and an elderly man who strangely makes a brief appearance just before the next scene was about to begin.
The show kicked off with that same slim elderly man just mentioned, shuffling along with his walking stick, attempting to access the stage from the seated stall area, just to the right of where my guest and I were sat.
Every single attempt to move his leg forward were met with hilarious stereotypical martial arts sound effects and facial expressions associated with typical dubbed marital arts movies which instantly the captivated the audience. Having sourced help from an unsuspected theatre goer to assist him in climbing up the four steps up onto the stage, he thanked the generous woman by gifting her some kind of sweet or badge.
After what seemed like a few minutes of hobbling around on stage and tripping over his walking stick from time to time, desperately trying to reach the moving spot light whilst making the audience laugh with his sound effects, he finally made it to the centre stage where he squealed in his high pitch voice ‘JUMPUUU’!!!
The rest of the cast then make their grand entrance in what I would call an introductory scene by way of a well put together synchronized martial arts routine. Their skills were evident the minute they graced the stage, effortlessly performing Taekwondo katas, smooth yet sharp kicks and impressive half somersault flips to name a few.
Being a martial artist myself, I was amazed at how light on their feet they were and after each cast member performed a brief solo routine followed by another appearance of the slim elderly man hobbling around on his walking stick (this was later rumoured to be the stage director), the opening scenes displays a martial arts driven family set in a traditional Korean home, who sets about testing the beautiful daughters eager yet shy and timid potential future husband. The scene proceeds with the shy suitor winning over the family and theatre goes watch on in anticipation as the love story unfolds.
Notice I keep mentioning the word shy and timid, this personality trait is only displayed when the potential marital suitor is wearing his glasses (just imagine a stereotypical bookworm for example), when the glasses are taken off however, an unexpected transformation happens which sees the potential future husband of the daughter suddenly turn into an incredibly suave but ruthless martial artist (with the assistance of sound effects and flashing lights) He displays bundles of confidence, whilst letting out his inner ninja. Who knew this meek looking young man had an intriguing alter ego!
The next scene shows the family cleaning the house whilst the strict grandfather puts each family member through their paces in various martial arts training routines and showdowns with one another. The slow-mo scenes in particular were mesmerizing, perfectly timed combat connections were in sync with the funny sound effects and there wasn’t 30 seconds that went by without a theater goer heckling out loud.
Somewhere in the middle of this scene, two of the characters walked off the stage and into the stall area, interacting with the audience. My guest and I were nervous that we may be approached for we were seated in row H, very near to the stage and at the end of the row near the walkway. Thankfully one of the characters stopped two rows down and after asking the young man his name and if he liked sports, he was asked to join the cast on stage where he was encouraged to battle with other cast members. This saw him (bless his cotton socks) complete a forward role whilst convincingly mimicking martial arts moves.
Kudos to him for getting involved and making light of the situation that he was on stage without a script and after a minute or two he was presented with signed Jump memorabilia. A similar scenario happened with a young lady that was called up to the stage where the drunken nephew became instantly besotted with the lady, much to her embarrassment for she attended the show with her other half.
Without going into great detail the third scene is where each of the characters personalities really comes to life and shines through as they face a showdown, or more arguably put ‘an epic martial arts battle’ with thieves that have invaded their house. It is worth mentioning the heavy use of flashing lights throughout these scenes. With the thieves successfully fought off, fast forward scene showed the daughter happily married to her alter ego husband and the show was brought to an end with what seemed like over 5 minutes of spectacular acrobatics, flips and tricks.
Even the elderly man threw aside his walking stick to eloquently complete several consecutive back-flips into and half and triple somersaults. Impressive is a severe understatement! I personally didn’t want this spectacle to end as we were treated with even more jaw dropping, martial art influenced gymnastic skills.
The goofy husband pointed to the curved wall prop from across the stage, back flipped a few times before sprinting up the curved wall and flipping off of it. Everyone was in awe whilst whopping, whistling in clapping in appreciation for what we had just witnessed!
If only I had started gymnastics / martial arts as a child I recall whispering to my guest, envisaging myself performing that very same trick in-front of roaring spectators (dream on Dani!).
In summary, Ye Gam’s adrenaline production Jump is one theatre performance I would highly recommend seeing! An evening or afternoon of fun, laughter awaits you, it will certainly bring out your inner child. I will conclude by advising should one decide on taking small children to watch this action packed play, they’ll have you (and other audience members as it did my guest and I) in stitches as they excitedly mimic out loud the sounds effects the elderly man who walks with a walking stick makes during his brief yet unforgettable appearances.
Jump is still being shown at The Peacock Theatre at Sadler’s Wells until mid November, so if after reading this review article you are thinking of seeing it yourself, tickets can be purchased by clicking HERE (prices range from £15.00 – £38.00)For those who do not want to make a booking via the web, simply call the Ticket Office on 0844 412 4322.
Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30 pm,
Saturday matinee at 2.30 pm,
Sunday at 2 pm & 6 pm
For more information regarding the different types of plays and performances being shown at Sadler’s Wells, they can be found online by visiting Sadler’s Wells website, Sadler’s Wells Facebook or by simply following them on Twitter
This piece was written by Danielle Watson, a 1st Dan kickboxing coach, health, fitness, green beauty and lifestyle writer who can be found sharing her thoughts over at her blog site www.thiswomansword.com She can also be found tweeting under twitter handle @thiswomansword