Ye-gam Inc’s hit martial arts slapstick show returns to the Peacock Theatre in London for a 10-week run in February. Do go along and take your friends. You don’t have to be a Korean culture buff to enjoy it. In fact, it probably helps if you’re not.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Jackie Chan movies, you can’t help but be astounded by Jump‘s virtuoso blend of tae kwon do and acrobatics. The Times
Here‘s what I thought of it a year ago. And here’s a press release from the Peacock:
“Did I say five stars? Make it 50.” Evening Standard
Ye Gam Theatre Company
Peacock Theatre, Portugal St, WC2A
Tuesday 6 February – Saturday 14 April 2007
Tickets: £10 – £34
Ticket office: 0870 737 0337 or via www.sadlerswells.com
After sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Festival and the Peacock Theatre in 2006, Ye Gam Theatre’s Jump returns to the West End on Tuesday 6 February 2007 for an unprecedented ten weeks. Blending martial arts with hilarious slapstick comedy and jaw-dropping acrobatics, Jump has caused a sensation since its inaugural performance in Korea in April 2003. Returning to the Peacock Theatre by popular demand, Jump also features on the Royal Variety Performance on Monday 4 December 2006, prior to its London run.
Described as Jackie Chan meets The Waltons, Jump tells the tale of a night-in-the-life of an extraordinary Korean family whose chaotic home is disturbed by burglars. The burglars however, have picked the wrong family. From the draconian grandfather and unwittingly dangerous drunken uncle to the aggressively assertive mother, the family members relish nothing more than the challenge of martial arts showdowns, until that is, more entertaining sport arrives in the form of their hapless burglars. Perfectly timed slapstick comedy and impressive acrobatics and taekwondo moves ensue as the family fight to rid themselves of their unwelcome guests.
The popularity of martial arts comedy has grown increasingly since the early 1990s thanks to Asian action film stars such as Jackie Chan and Jet Lee. Their efforts have sparked a trend in big-budget films featuring and referencing martial arts from Chan’s Rush Hour series, to Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Jump in turn plays affectionately with such references and more besides, ranging from Seventies TV show Monkey to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Peking Opera-style stereotypes, Matrix-style slo-mo and freeze frame and rewind (Sunday Telegraph).
The concept for the show was first established in October 1999, developing over several years. In 2001 the company began acrobatics training under the instruction of the Women’s National Gymnastics team coach Jeong-Ok Soo. For more than three years, Jump’s nine performers trained together in mime, acting and taekwondo and collectively the cast includes championship gymnasts, martial arts masters and highly skilled actors. Since 2005, the show has made over 1000 performances, touring internationally to festivals and venues including: Israel Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and London’s Peacock Theatre. It is the world’s first stage show to mix martial arts with comedy and acrobatics.
“Hilarious. They’re not just dazzling acrobats, they’re blessed with remarkable comic timing – they literally don’t put a foot wrong” The Scotsman ****
Press night: Wednesday 7 February 2007 at 7.30pm
Performances: Tue – Sat at 7.30pm, Sat, Sun matinees at 3pm. Wed 14 February at 3pm
Video clips of the production can be viewed from the webpage at:
Images available from: www.sadlerswells.com/pressimages
A history of Jump
The concept for the show was first conceived in October 1999 under the title Crazy Family. The sixth scenario of the show Crazy Family was written in March 2001. Eight months later, the team started their acrobatics training under the guidance of Jeong-Ok Soo, the Women’s National Gymnastics team coach. In August 2002, the non-verbal performance of Crazy Family was previewed and soon the team was invited to perform at the Kyushu Festival in Japan. That same year, they premiered at the National Theater of Seoul. In April 2003, the show was renamed Jump and performed to various theatres in Korea. From 2005 onwards, the show toured internationally to festivals and venues including: Israel Festival, Jerusalem & Hulon (May 2005), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Aug 2005 and 2006), Hackney Empire, London (Nov 2005) and the Peacock Theatre, London (February 2006).
Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport in 2000
Originating in Korea, taekwondo is loosely translated as “the art of kicking and punching“, or “the way of the foot and fist“. As such, physically it concentrates mainly on strikes with the feet and hands. At its inception, it was designed by the Koreans to fight against invading Japanese Samurai and to this day it retains characteristics reminiscent of its origins. It is said to “bring self-strength, self-knowledge, self-confidence and self-control“. It reaches toward “ki“, the development of a total being capable of meeting any challenge with calm and success. It is considered one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, which teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is seen as a discipline which shows ways of enhancing the spirit and life through training the body and mind.