For a child of the ‘80s (and a teenager of the early ‘90s), it’s almost impossible to hear the title ‘Jump!’ without calling up images of Van Halen kicking out in rock leggings or hip hop duo Kriss Kross head-nodding in their hoodies.
But now another act has captured my imagination: the spectacular Jump at Peacock Theatre, Sadlers’ Wells. This show is an absolute riot, starring an entire family of Tae-Kwon-Do experts who give two bumbling burglars more than a run for their Won.
Since its first UK appearance in 2003, Jump has become a global phenomenon, with its own Jump Theatre in native Korea. And it’s easy to see why people worldwide adore this show: for, like the best silent action movies (barely any words are spoken throughout) and martial arts comedy, it has appeal for almost all ages and nationalities.
The intro features a creaky old ‘stage manager’ who can barely take a step without making a high-pitched grunt (pretty soon the audience was grunting along). Of course it’s no huge surprise that he’s not really so geriatric, but the breadth of his skills will steal your breath away.
He’s just one element of a production that’s packed with eye-popping fight sequences, gravity-stopping leaps, and comic dance breaks. Each of the 7 cast members brings their own brand of badass to the show, so it’s hard to choose a favourite.
Having grown up watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, I loved the character of the drunken uncle, whose zig-zag fight style is a cheeky nod to the classic Chan movie Drunken Master. And of course I was totally into the high-flying, swift-kicking matriarch — that mama don’t take no mess!
The best thing about Jump, aside from the incredible fight choreography and stunt work, is its sense of humour. I didn’t expect to giggle constantly and there are some proper hold your belly/slap your neighbour’s thigh moments!
Fancy a thrilling night out for your whole brood? Might as well JUMP (believe dat)!
Jed (age 5)
‘Jump was really good. It was a dancing and kung-fu show and my favourite character was the drunken warrior because he was so funny. He kept making funny noises and he spitted all the water out of his mouth onto the robber!’
Ezra (age 8)
‘I liked Jump because I love karate and martial arts and because it was funny, people jumping about, falling over, very exciting! I also liked it because there were people pretending to get stabbed in places but they were actually just putting it through their arm. And don’t forget the mysterious stage manager!’
Jump is at the Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street WC2, until Nov 15. For ages 5+ (no under fives will be admitted). 7.30pm (Tue-Sat), 2.30pm (Sat), 2pm & 6pm (Sun); adult £15-£38/child under 16 half-price (Oct 28-Nov 15). Running time is 1 hour and 30 minutes with no interval.