Bump was a one person play performed in Ffresh at the Wales Millennium Centre. It was written for Unsolicited Theatre by playwright Kelly Jones. This was a work in-progress reading which makes this play difficult to review. As Kelly had the script in her hand while on stage this meant there was little (although there was some) acting or performance, instead it was focussed on the script and its story.
I can definitely see the potential in this script and a venue such as Ffresh worked and would work as a full production. This production contained no props and very little staging (all they used were two chairs on the stage) this meant the focus would, eventually, just be on the character of Jo but due to this being a work in progress reading and the character not being fully realised .The focus was on the story. Despite this however, Kelly’s performance was amazing and she did ‘perform’ certain aspects of the script.
This play was unlike any play I have seen before. I must confess that I tend to not enjoy plays, just out of preference, but this reading was unique. This story follows the character of Jo from the modern day, back to fifteen years and then back to modern day again. The audience discover that Reggie had to drop out of school to look after her new-born nephew and deals with some very controversial and complex issues. As the story was set in the past fifteen years, it was relatable. The story was also contemporary as it involved concepts such as Facebook, laptops and mobile phones. I felt as if this story was based on something that could have easily have happened recently. This meant the audience could easily empathise with Jo and relate to her hardships. The script was written to portray to the audience that Reggie had really experienced what had happened. At times the character would talk about things that were off topic, she would make jokes and experience things/emotions that everyone at one point or another had gone through. This all made the story and the character seem like a normal person and so made it relatable for the audience. The monologue of the character was spoken as if it was meant to be direct to each audience member. The actress playing Reggie, forced eye contact to the audience and the script used conversational language which made everyone feel part of the story. As a result of this, the entire play was emotional and moving for everyone experiencing it.
This play covered some very controversial issues but did so in a respectful way. The character of Reggie was a lesbian but this was not the main focus of the story or a ‘big reveal’ set up in the play, instead it was a casual remark (she being female and saying she was dating another female) which is an important thing for modern theatre. This helps audiences become more aware of the the sexual preference of homosexuality and makes people who are part of the LGTBQ community feel more like everyone else and accepted in society, which can only be a positive thing. It also discussed the act of motherhood and how many people are not sure if they could look after a baby. Or what to do with a new baby which, while comical at times, would have put new mothers at ease and made them feel as if its not just themselves who are stressed and confused. The play also dealt with the role of family on someone’s upbringing from childhood even into adulthood and the important/effects of perspectives.
I would have to give a warning to people wanting to watch this play as it does contain a lot of swearing which many people may find uncomfortable. But also, as stated earlier, this play deals with many topics (acts of terrorism, homosexuality) which many people may not be comfortable with. Due to this being a work on progress reading there is a limit on how well I can rate it as I’m rating it’s potential rather that the performance I actually saw. It displays a grittier and real side of life through the medium of drama which avid theatre fans would enjoy.