Rachel Howells reviews Theatr na nÓg’s Just Jump, a new theatre production for schools performed at Cardiff’s Norwegian Church during May and June in the mediums of English and Welsh.
Just Jump is a hard-hitting look at dangers surrounding antisocial behaviour and swimming in unmonitored boating areas. Moving between the present day and memories of the school days of the protagonist, Tom, played by Elwyn Williams, the production touches on how these behaviours affect the whole family. Cleverly written, the script keeps the audience guessing with which direction it will go. Just when you think you know what will happen, the production surprises you again.
The shows beginnings come from discussions between Arts and Business Cymru, Cardiff Harbour Authority and Milford Haven Port Authority with the desire to get the message across to young audiences about the dangers of tombstoning and entering unmonitored waters.
The target of the production is to find a way to communicate the stories message with young people in an engaging way. As Geinor Styles, the Artistic Director of Theatr na nÓg says “Live theatre has an impact for young people”.
The production was commissioned by Cardiff Harbour Authority in 2017. Since then, the show has toured schools in Cardiff and made into a short film which was shown free to classrooms across Cardiff and the Vale during lockdown. Now, it has become a live stage production performed in the setting of Cardiff’s Norwegian Church.
Just Jump‘s cast, while small, is extremely versatile taking on many roles in the production. There is a lovely relationship between Elwyn Williams’ Tom and Mali O’Donnell as his sister, Kayleigh. The message of the production is enhanced by the simple, yet effective set which is used to the fullest in the direction from Tom Blumberg.
Schools which visit the Norwegian Church in May and June have also been offered workshops by Cardiff Harbour Authority, including pond dipping led by David Bath. The workshops will include opportunities to learn more about the ecology of Cardiff Bay, including discovering the island of Flat Holm.
Using impactful theatre at its full potential, Just Jump carries an important message that will resonate with all school pupils. If your children get the opportunity to see it, encourage them to do so!
- Just Jump can be seen at Cardiff Bay’s Norwegian Church 22 -25 May (and 5-8 June in Welsh), tickets available on Theatr na nÓg’s website.