Outrageously funny, David Cantor and Michael Kingsbury’s new comedy Jumping the Shark has the audience in absolute stitches from start to finish. From the writers of My Family and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, this piece of comedic genius is currently on tour visiting four venues in Inner London, Edinburgh, Tunbridge Wells, and Basingstoke between March 7th and April 1st, 2023. We meet five strangers, Pam, Gavin, Morgan, Dale, and Amy, attending a seminar on sitcom writing, led by notorious writer Frank Donohue. From their first appearances alone, we instantly see how each of these characters contrasts with each other, which only fuels the comedy further. 

Credit: Robert Armstrong

It is difficult to pick a standout performance in this play; the entire cast brings an infectious energy to their characters, complimenting each other brilliantly. I thoroughly enjoyed watching specific relationships develop, some passive-aggressive, some amorous, some tense, and all hysterical. We gradually explore each of their troubles and insecurities, and thus each character is granted moments of self-realisation and acceptance that bring new layers of emotion to the play. The entire show is like comedic therapy.

Credit: Robert Armstrong

Robin Sebastian (Babs: The True Story of a British Icon) and Sarah Moyle (Doctors) are an amazing pairing as Gavin and Pam – I think it’s safe to say I’ll never look at lasagne in the same way ever again! They each go through opposite journeys of character development, with Pam finally embracing her own self-worth while Gavin begins to chip away at his overly theatrical persona, and in turn, they balance each other out. Also, I would say that Jack Trueman’s (Shark Bait) performance as Dale is an absolute scene stealer, as he is somehow able to be simultaneously obnoxious and lovable in equal measures, arguably going on the most intense character journey of all. Dale begins the play with overpowering energy and confidence, and yet by the end, you just want to give him a hug and tell him everything will be okay. Dale’s character completely contrasts that of Morgan, played by Harry Visinoni (Coronation Street) which in turn creates another iconic (though seemingly reluctant) comic duo. Personally, the style of comedy Visinoni brings to the play is by far my favourite, steeped in sarcasm, passive aggression, and subtlety in a way that seems the most natural and effortless (despite the casual breaks into the rhyme of course). Even his entrance is iconic, with Morgan completely dissolving the chatty atmosphere built up beforehand with just his silence and sunglasses alone!

Credit: Robert Armstrong

Additionally, Jasmine Armfield’s (EastEnders) portrayal as Amy brings the most tension to the play, and in turn, this becomes more than just a fun little writing workshop – Amy has a purpose, an agenda, and the audience is on the edge of their seats trying to second guess what exactly it is. I felt as though I was able to connect the most with her character through Armfield’s captivating performance, blending moments of absolute heartache and hilarity flawlessly. And of course, the entire play is grounded by Frank, performed by David Schaal (The Office, The Inbetweeners). Frank ties the piece together with his ability to connect with each of the characters on different levels, encouraging them to dig deeper into their real lives to allow their wounds to surface, catalysing revelation after revelation. And yet, he is just as flawed as the rest of them, if not more so. They are all united in imperfection.

Credit: Robert Armstrong

Overall, this play is perfect for anyone who enjoys sitcoms, writing, or just comedy in general. There truly is something in here for everyone.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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