Jumper opens in 2034 as two Tube drivers briefly cross paths at shift change. One stays very quiet, while the other talks of people jumping in front of the Tube and the effect on the driver. On the same day five years earlier, in 2029, a Northern Line train suddenly stops in a tunnel and the five people together in a carriage wait for the train to move. They wait and wait, and wait some more.
There is a programme available via QR code scanning and I’d suggest that this is very worth a read beforehand as it adds some clarity to parts of the play. I think it particularly relevant when Michael (Fahad Salman), the homeless gentleman who rides the Tube back and forth, throws out a comment about doing this for well over a hundred years and tells a story of being the last man hanged in London back in the 1860s. This is not drunken rambling to be dismissed: he is the ghost of the hanged man. It takes a while for this to become clear and I am reasonably sure we are meant to have taken it at face-value early on.
At times the script rambles, and although it confuses more than once it remains funny throughout. While being somewhat unsure of the intent, I still appreciated the production and I admire writer Joshua King’s ambition. Parts are quite funny: I have read ‘Moby Dick’ and I very much enjoyed the comments about the book and the running gag with quotation, which tickled me.
During the interval, I heard many people speculating about what was happening, with a consensus seeming to form that all the characters were dead and the Tube carriage was a purgatory of sorts, which I don’t think was quite what the play was going for although as I say, it confuses repeatedly. I was reminded, positively, of the TV show Lost more than once; a group of people thrown together, conspiracy theories, strange happenings, people coming and going and, most of all, big questions pondered.
Rosaleen Burton as Jule is great on all accounts, playing the drunken girlfriend and then morphing further into the unknown girl, holding the story together as it focuses on her after the interval. Will Charlton is fun as Bud, that drunk guy on the Tube we’ve all met once or a dozen times and Charlton really gets a moment to shine later when he steps out of time and talks of Shakespeare and Melville.
I took the Northern Line home from Kentish Town last night, so it was the most apt timing for the train to stop in a tunnel. Thankfully the lights didn’t go off, the driver made an announcement, everyone else on the train did not disappear and we got moving after three minutes – phew!
Written by Joshua King
Directed by Christine Mears
Produced by Sycamore House Productions
Plays at Lion & Unicorn until Saturday 9 April. Further information and bookings here.
The show then has a further run at Bread & Roses between 24th – 28th May. More information and bookings here.