Jump For Jordan is billed as a comedy. And it is definitely funny – plenty of classic lost-in-translation moments and SBS jokes, and one laugh out loud dream sequence involving a magic carpet and an ornamental vase.
But what makes Jump For Jordan as good as it is, is the portrayal of the full spectrum of emotions: love, joy, passion, rage, loss, betrayal, loneliness, frustration and fear. This is a very intimate look into the heart of a family that is ripped at the seams daily by the opposing forces of a history in Jordan and a life in Sydney.
Sophie (Alice Ansara), an Australian-born Arabic, ran away when she was 20. Her traditional Jordinian mother (Doris Younane), and long-suffering sister Loren (Sheridan Harbridge) have never quite forgiven her. When Loren gets engaged, Sophie is pulled back into the folds of the family to keep up pretences to her Aunt Azza (Camilla Ah Kin), visiting from Jordan for the wedding. Forced to lie about her job, her apartment and her girlfriend (Anna Houston) – the pressure mounts on Sophie, and when she finds she can’t keep it up, she lets out more than just her own truth.
Jump For Jordan takes a risk in jumping between multiple timelines and two vastly different countries but, despite the simple staging of a kitchen table half-buried in a mountain of sand, it manages to convey both time and place effectively. The actors also cleverly and effectively create the experience of watching a film half in English and half subtitled – no mean feat – which provides the opportunity for some of the best laughs.
Above all else, this is a play about relationships; about lovers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, people and their country. The expectations they have of each other and the secrets they keep. It will strike close to the heart of the children of immigrants, but the appeal is far broader and it will give everyone something to enjoy.
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