Jack Aged 5 1/2

A glimpse back to childhood at the first show in the Nottingham New Theatre Studio.

A simple and thoughtful play, reflecting upon the complex interactions between siblings Jack aged 5½ brought a clever mix of smiles, laughter and in some cases tears, to the audience.

Sat cross-legged on a cushion couldn’t be a more fitting position to watch this play as the audience are taken back to the mindset and priorities of a child.

The bickering, competitiveness and ultimate affection that exists between siblings is brilliantly unfolded in these 50 minutes by Ajay Stevenson, Sam Peake and Nadia Amico playing Ben, Jack and Emma respectively.

Emma acts as narrator throughout the play, coming in to explain her take on the relationships between her and her brothers and how it changes and evolves over time, which is strong in keeping the script moving.

Stevenson and Peake recreate the two kid brothers with absolute ease and great hilarity, fighting over toys, fighting over who is right and threatening that frightful line “I’ll tell mummy!” The element of physical fighting between the brothers brought both a sense of realism and comedy. Anyone in the audience with brothers or sisters could instantly relate.

Ben is the typical older brother: pushing the blame onto his younger double, being a sore loser when playing games and generally exploiting Jack’s naivety. The attention to detail throughout the play was really strong, with Stevenson and Peake never once found out of character, consistently portraying all the mannerisms of small children.  Stevenson provided most of the comedy in his portrayal of bratty, attention-seeking and, for a small child, incredibly patronising Ben.

As the play develops new events cause the dynamics of the family to be inverted, forcing the sibling relationships to be reconfigured. The humour is withdrawn and scenes begin to contrast greatly with the light-hearted interactions that previously occurred.

Written by new theatre’s own Jake Leonard this is an endearing script simultaneously tickling you and pulling gently on your heartstrings, taking you straight back to childhood priorities, emotions and concerns. The Tab recommends to anyone with a spare hour this evening.

Final Performance Tonight NNT Studio 7pm, doors open at 6.30. Tickets £3. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.