Day: January 23rd, 2008

Go ahead… Jump

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008 | All Things, Arts

Jump was created by Korea’s Yegam Theatre Company, and spent several years in development before it premiered at the Woolim Cheongdam Theater of Seoul in 2003. Since then, the show has had successful engagements throughout Asia and Europe, earning a Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2006. The 90-minute spectacle began an open-ended run at the Union Square Theater on September 25, opening officially on October 7 before a packed house that included the Jolie-Pitt crew.


Another entry on the long off-Broadway list of “barely verbal foreign imports” (see: Stomp, Blue Man Group, Fuerzabruta), the show is part slapstick comedy, part martial arts demonstration, and part gymnastics display, with shades of The Matrix thrown in.

The men and women of the cast rotate their roles regularly, and were culled from experts in kickboxing, gymnastics, modern dance, and theater. The story, such as it is, revolves around a family of five martial arts specialists (grandfather, father, mother, drunken uncle, daughter) and their skirmishes. During the first act, an unassuming, nerdy young man visits the household and promptly falls in love with the daughter. (We later discover that he is transformed into a wildly gyrating, mesh-shirted Lothario once his coke-bottle glasses are removed.) With seeming randomness, a series of segments are strung together in which the various cast members challenge each other to impressively athletic martial arts and acrobatic displays, under the supervision of the imperious grandfather. All these well-honed skills are put to good use when a pair of hapless burglars break into the family home in the second act.

They fight, they woo, and occasionally members of the audience are brought up on stage to participate in the shenanigans… It makes no sense, really — “more a stage version of Kung Fu Hustle than actual theater” — but it was far more fun than I expected going in.

Jump vendor

Tonight’s burglars — Yun-Gab Hong and Seung-Youl Lee — at the post-show meet and greet. Love the ‘fro!

Jump cast

Afterwards, we ended up at nearby Republic for what may have been the fastest dinner on record. Barely were the orders out of our mouths when the food hit the table, in seeming defiance of all physical law.

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