Jess and Joe Forever, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Farnham Maltings and Orange Tree Theatre
Zoe Cooper (Writer), Derek Bond (Director), Sally Ferguson (LIghting Designer)
Nicola Coughlan (Jess), Rhys Isaac-Jones (Joe)
Running time

Jess and Joe want to tell you a story. A coming of age of story about speedos, scotch eggs and being special. As if children at a party, performing a newly rehearsed play, this pair claim your attention and your empathetic human spirit.

Spanning their preteen years from 9 -15, we see the unlikely friendship of (apparently) cosmopolitan Jess and a taciturn Joe develop and teeter on a seesaw of companionship and romance. Stuck spending summers in Norfolk, this duo find each other long before they find who they really are.

Appearing to be a standard boy meets girl story, Cooper has packed multiple punches and plot twists into this story of friendship. Each unexpected event causes hindsight to kick in, and preconceptions to be back handed, as every moment was laced into the tale and destined from them beginning. Secretly stashed amongst the swimming trunks and Sunday service sermons, Writer Zoe Cooper has hidden many a secret.

On James Perkin’s simplistic stage, with a pile of dirt, a cassette player and each other, these two children play the incredibly serious game of growing up and not fitting in. An exceptional, two handed performance from Nicola Coughlan and Rhys Isaac-Jones, where neither upstages the other - and in a very childlike way, both upstage one another - allowing Jess and Joe’s tales of adolescent woe to fill the room with giggles and a tear or two.

3 - 27 Aug, times vary