Review: Jumping The Shark

by | Feb 3, 2023 | Theatre, Featured

Jumping The Shark

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Frank Donohue has been flown in from Los Angeles to conduct the workshop and the participants are eager to learn and eager to learn from the best.

The first half is a good deal of introduction and set-up, yet fits the subject matter as there are loads of references to nearly all the great, and not so great sitcoms, which gives us all delightful nostalgia. As Frank goes through the elements of comedy, for example sitcoms need relationships, false assumptions, he highlights there is comedy in disconnect, clichés are dead and the fact the responsibility to make people laugh is a serious one. This is both entertaining and educational as we, the audience, did actually learn so much as it gave some great insight into writing comedy. Plus of course we learn what ‘Jumping The Shark’ means in comedy.

We also learn a little about the five characters, they each had to tell a story that has happened in their life. Frank then explains how to embellish their story to make it funny, what to add and what not to add. Their next task was to take on-board all the information and write a couple of scenes which they performed the next day, with the rest of the group playing parts in each other’s scenario, which was the second half. And very funny!

As they played out their stories, we learn more about each character and the issues they have in life as they become more vulnerable, but of course is such an amusing way.

  • Dale (Jack Trueman) – the young, not so bright handsome, cockney geezer with all the banter.
  • Morgan (Harry Visinoni) – the cynical depressive poet who seems to have mother issues.
  • Gavin (Robin Sebastian) – the desperate to please middle aged actor who will try anything to get noticed.
  • Pam (Sarah Moyle) – the bored wife who’s finding her voice and her confidence.
  • Amy (Jasmine Armfield) – the bright student who has been on a workshop before.
  • Frank (David Schaal) also has his story to tell.

It was hilarious on so many levels. The format of the workshop and their stories created an almost bottomless supply of funny jokes and comedy styles. It was both character driven and story driven. The characters were engaging and earnest and the actors – all from TV – were top quality. It was an excellent combination for high amounts of laughter, everyone was giggling, laughing, sniggering, tittering, chuckling, chortling and definitely guffawing.

Written by BBC sitcom writers, it’s a play that will leave you with an aching face.

Listings at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

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  • Hayley Clapperton

    Hayley is a business co-owner working too many hours so it's a good job she's passionate about it. Hayley's down time is music, music and music of all types and she enjoys going to gigs, listening to new bands and breathing in the energy it creates.

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