Chul Ki Choi and his company, Ye-Gam, bring Korea's latest theatrical export to the West End. A non-verbal blend of martial-arts-style stunt fighting and mimed comedy, Jump centres on the squabbles of a typical Korean family with a difference: each member is a martial-arts expert. When two burglars stumble in, the family explode into action.
Every bit as ambitious as it sounds, the show promises 80 minutes of spectacular acrobatic showdowns and hilarious comic timing. Jump offers witty satire on our martial-arts-obsessed culture; there is even a Matrix-style slo-mo scene.
After the huge success of Cookin' five years ago, Choi and team set about Jump in 1999. The show opened in Seoul in 2002, and won rave reviews on the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe. That was when Angella Kwon, the leader, began working to secure a world tour. "I am so happy. We had a kind of confidence about this show. We performed to a Western audience in Korea and they all said it was going to be a big hit." The tour continues to Greece, then Madrid in March and Hamburg in April. Kwon hopes then to secure contracts for Las Vegas hotels. "These are active, fun shows aimed at the whole family. We had a lot of different ages in the audience at Edinburgh, and they all enjoyed it together."
Ye-Gam chose the cast of nine from actors and gymnasts and, after three years' training, the troupe boasts a unique mix of stunt and comic skills. Hee Jung Hwang, a gymnast, competed in the national championships before learning acting and mime with Ye-Gam (she plays the demure but deadly daughter).
As the company expands to meet demand, the talent scouts are scouring Asia. "There are martial-arts experts in Korea, but we need people who can do martial arts, gymnastics and acting, so they're quite hard to find," Kwon says.
Choi is now planning Jump 2 and a possible collaboration with Cirque du Soleil.
7 to 26 February (0870 737 0337; www.sadlerswells.com)Reuse content