Monday, 13 January 2014

'Mojo' Harold Pinter Theatre ****

The recent revival of Jez Butterworth's 1995 play 'Mojo' is a production that is full of joyous dark comedy moments and sections of your shock. This was clearly apparent by audiences reaction to it. This version is directed once again by its original director, Ian Rickson and seems to have been a theatrical hit since its press night. The casting here is phenomenal with Harry Potter's Rupert Grint starring in his first West End show and Downton Abbey's very own Mr Bates,Brendan Coyle. As well as he ever wonderful David Mays, Ben Wishaw and Colin Morgan completing this sublime cast. Set in the a 1958 sordid Soho nightclub there is a huge event happening where they have found the newest rock 'n' roll heartthrob Silver Johnny (Tom Rhys Harries) who has been hired by its owner Ezra to entice the local ladies. However he's a gangster and been doing a deal with a showbiz head-hunter by the name of Mr Ross. The play is very compelling and makes you think whether Butterworth had taken influences from the Krays and the Teddyboys to exude through his characters. I find that this show is not for the most faint hearted of person so people please be aware as some sections are highly violent. The event preparations are ruined due to the fact that Ezra has been brutally massacred and the infamous Mr Ross has pinched Johnny for his own dastardly deeds. The performances by the entire male cast is exceptional and certainly captures the feeling of the dominance of the man in the 1950s. The comic start between Sweets (Rupert Grint) and Potts (Daniel Mays) suggest this dark reality of being involved in the life of pure illegality. The physicality within the fight sequences directed by Ruth Cooper-Brown and Rachel Brown-Williams have been beautifully staged, some moments make you laugh hysterically and some make you cringe beyond belief. Ian Rickson's direction here is outstanding as he has fully interrogated Butterworth's themes with such tenacity and ease and his staging within the Harold Pinter Theatre is nothing more than wonderful. This shows designer Ulltz has done a great job with 'Mojo' as he encapsulates the brutality of the gangsters world and the drudgery of the 1950s which has been clearly defined which is beautiful to see. The production is amazing in all aspects through to design, direction and performance. Congratulations to all involved.

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