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Jammy Dodgers at The Cockpit | Review

The script is a demanding one, requiring almost military precision in its delivery, with lots of short lines delivered by an on-stage cast of nine, who all push forward the narrative, at pace. Jammy Dodgers features no Jammy Dodgers, as allegedly there aren’t any in ‘The New World’, an attempt at – wait for it – colonising a different planet with remarkably similar atmospheric conditions to Earth.

Jammy DodgersThis isn’t, even in the world of science fiction, something that can just happen by way of a few friends pooling their disposable income together and jetting off into space, so there is something called ‘The System’ (voiced by Jacqueline Milne) at work to even get people over to ‘The New World’.

Whether The System is funded by private enterprise or a state body isn’t quite clear. The willing participants in this experiment are, apparently, randomly selected: presumably the entire pool, for whatever reason, comprised young and photogenic people. Perhaps older people were considered to be too set in their ways to adjust to a way of life that was yet to be determined. The initiative is an opportunity to build a new society, without class distinctions or other discriminatory factors. But ‘The People’ are simply not going to be left to get on with it – that could well result in a Lord of the Flies situation.

Rules and regulations are brought in, much to the consternation of certain participants. Eventually, elections are held for Leader of the New World. Si (Oveis Rezazadeh) is up for it – ever the enthusiast, he craves popularity, and largely achieves it through positivity and a poetic way with words, which makes him either hugely likeable or otherwise an irritating ball of energy not entirely unlike a Duracell bunny.

So much is described rather than dramatized, with far more talk about protests than actual protesting. The participants are tasked with activities but also seem to have a decent amount of downtime, which is mostly used for companionship and friendly chats with like-minded people. Chelsea (Paula Moehring) strikes up a conversation with Aleece (Amy Fallon), which provided sufficient backstories. The whole thing is essentially a reality television programme in all but name, complete with (spoiler alert) evictions.

This must, at least to some extent, explain why I struggled to connect with the production in any meaningful way. A figure of authority known only as The Recruiter (George Nettleton) provides some useful context with regards to what The System is ‘really’ trying to achieve – it is disappointing and dastardly in equal measure, though interestingly a few participants have worked out the gist of it for themselves. The stage was often busy, with the company moving around the stage frequently, and the production makes brilliant use of the performance space available.

It’s an ambitious production, and it seems to suggest that humans are, collectively speaking, strongly influenced by, amongst other things, the past and the world as we know it, whether we choose to acknowledge that. As the old adage would have it, there is nothing new under the sun. That still applies on other planets.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

The New World is a new start, not the same start – at least that’s what The System has promised. Aleece, Si, and The People are selected to travel to the New World. It’s their chance at a completely new start, 55 million kilometres away from the mess we’ve made here. But as tensions run high and Aleece and Si realise just how different everyone in the New World is we begin to see how possible a do-over really is. A politically driven, ensemble-based piece that brings its audiences deep into the New World.

Jammy Dodgers, written and directed by Amy Tickner, was first developed with Flengwin Theatre in October 2018 as part of their Out of The Shadows new writing festival at Theatre N16. It was then performed at Etcetera Theatre in January 2019, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, August 2019. Since then the play has been redeveloped alongisde A&B Company for this year’s Camden Fringe.

Shortlisted for The Pleasance Reading Week 2019

JAMMY DODGERS
How Capable Are We Of Starting Over
Produced by A&B Company
Part of the Camden Fringe Festival

Jammie Dodgers
Written by Amy Tickner
16 Aug to 17 Aug
https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/

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