Review: A (Regular) Week at Jimmy’s

By

A piece that unites its audience in the commonality of the Durham nightlife experience, A (Regular) Week at Jimmy’s is the perfect pre-exam destress for anyone wanting a loving but satirical reminder of Durham’s bizarre but charming microclimate.

As the name suggests, the play, written by Isabel Bainbridge, follows the events each night of a week at Jimmy’s, within the framework of a David Attenborough-style documentary voiceover. I found the voiceover to be the most comedic part of the play, acting as a link back to the intended comedic style of the piece, and I would have loved to see it used more within the scenes as commentary on the progression of the action. This may have helped with the direction and momentum of the scenes, which sometimes dragged a bit as they went on. Nonetheless, each scene was an amusing watch and, tied in with the voiceover links, made for a very smooth production. The Mockumentary style was a clever concept that easily allowed for the obscurification of Durham culture and its quirky traditions and fascinating characters.

The Birley Rooms was a comfortingly intimate space for the production

The Birley Rooms was a comfortingly intimate space for the production, which worked well for the two- to three-person scenes, allowing the audience to feel involved in each scene, almost as if we were other bystanders in the Jimmy’s smoking area ourselves. Special credit must be given to for the multi-faceted tech setup that was simple but effective in setting the scene. I would have perhaps liked some club music underscoring the scenes to give a greater illusion that the play was actually set at Jimmy’s and (admittedly a trivial point), the bows music not being Jimmy’s anthem Angels by Robbie Williams felt like a missed opportunity, though this obviously did not detract from the productions success.

The seven scenes took the audience through situationships, curry club socials, stressed stem students, rugby lads and even the Jimmy’s staff, creating a varied programme that kept the audience engaged. The script and direction would have benefitted from a greater commitment to the satirical melodrama and farce that the mockumentary style and overall comedic concept suggested, as at moments it was unclear what was supposed to land as moments of irony and comedy, this was often due to pacing issues which could be attributed to first night nerves. An audience favourite scene was the DST girls in the smoking area, likely because this is where the play reached its maximum relatability to its audience. ’s nonchalant, posh thespian was a particular highlight of this scene, getting the audience laughing at her every move, she is truly a master of comedic timing. The whole cast worked together fabulously to keep the energy up on stage and there was a clear sense of camaraderie throughout, oddly symptomatic of the actual environment in Jimmy’s. Other standouts include who shines with a fabulous stage presence in her various iterations of posh Durham girls, picking up the energy whenever she was on stage. as Barty and Tom certainly showcased his acting range giving the audience rah and roadman in the space of an hour. My favourite on-stage chemistry was between Ellie Malley, and in their scene depicting a trio of best friends trying to distract their ringleader from their failing situationship. Lastly, as John was hilarious, and had the audience lovingly empathizing with his romantic inability.

’s nonchalant, posh thespian was a particular highlight of this scene, getting the audience laughing at her every move, she is truly a master of comedic timing

Overall, this is a production whose cardinal strength is its relatability, which, when paired with its enthusiastic cast, creates a fantastically joyful commentary on Durham life.

Image credit: Lion Theatre Company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.