Jump review - SkinnyFest

Article by Gareth Vile | 14 Aug 2006
Announcing itself in a roar of raucous rock, six martial artists hurling themselves across the stage, Jump is a ferocious and dynamic comedy, balancing incredible leaps and kicks with broad slapstick and saucy postcard stereotypes.

The plot, involving the romance between the young daughter of a martial arts dynasty and her bespectacled suitor, is the flimsy pretext for action sequences and bodies flying around the stage. A drunken uncle and two thieves suffer repeated beatings, complete with comic sound effects. There is no characterisation, only fights and laughter.

The crude humour does wear thin: the audience participation drags, while every visual gag is repeated. But when the action lags, the cast performs spectacular flips to wild applause.

The battles, either in slow motion or in breath-taking real-time, are dramatic and powerful, and the show is held together by the increasing complexity and impressiveness of the movements. It is a live version martial arts movie, combining raw physicality and immature humour. As an exploration of the capacity of the body, it is remarkable, performed with enthusiasm by a cast enjoying themselves as much as the audience, but it is too long and the impact is diluted by silly interludes. A superb show for children, it might leave adults wishing for a tighter pace and less clowning.