JAY – Hen & Chickens Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Shanine SalmonLeave a Comment

Hen and Chickens Theatre, London – until 28 October 2017

In the opening scene of Jay, it’s Jay (Flora Nisbet-Dawson) who’s keeping it together. Her girlfriend Alex (Eleonora Fusco) is curled up on the floor, severely depressed and barely functioning, while Jay is still going to work, living a life and wanting them to have a baby. Jay’s Prozac Dream (personified by a sarcastic, gun-totting Lee Anderson) tells her it’s OK to resent Alex but Jay ignores him.

Yet even after she and Alex have parted, and Jay gets together with the much cheerier Andrea (Mari-Ange Ramirez), Prozac Dream is still there. And things come to a head when the heavily pregnant Andrea runs into the also pregnant Alex, and Alex talks her way into the apartment Andrea shares with Jay, where the also pregnant Jay is having a very bad day.

Unbeknownst to Andrea, Alex says, Jay hasn’t been taking her medicine or seeing her doctor for years. Jay’s mental state isn’t great but is Alex gaslighting or is this for real? And what does Alex want to achieve by telling them this?

As an exploration of mental illness and how it can affect relationships and life, Jay is spot on, as are the observations on pregnancy, but when the play ends it feels like something is missing. Perhaps it’s the suddenness and the anti-climactic nature of the ending, or the fact that little seems to have resolved itself. Jay somehow seems unfinished and there’s a lot more that could have been explored here. Perhaps it should have been?

Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.
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Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.

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