The Royal Court Theatre presents
Mojo ( Archived )
By Jez Butterworth
10 October - 9 November 1996
Royal Court Theatre
There is no further information for this production. For archival material contact the V&A Museum
Director: Ian Rickson, Designer: Ultz, Lighting Design: Ultz & Mark Ridler, Sound Designer: Paul Arditti, Music: Stephen Warbeck
Cast (1995): Matt Bardock, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, Johnny Hans Matheson, Andy Serkis, David Westhead
Cast (1996): Callum Dixon, Simon Kunz, Johnny Daniel Newman, Paul Reynolds, Neil Stuke, Darren Tighe
(Reviews from 1995 production)
‘Having eschewed 1950s realism you have to find your bearings in Butterworth’s fantastic argot. The amphatamine pace of Ian Rickson’s production creates the deliberate and effective atmosphere of cartoon Tarantino The minutely observed performances, however, inexorably reel you in; ultimately furnishing Butterworth with one of the most dazzling Royal Court main stage debuts in years.’
‘You would hardly guess from his bored expression that the young man raising the lids on two dustbins has just confirmed that both contain the severed corpse of his Soho, club-owning daddy. But then Jez Butterworth’s intriguing first play, a jet-black comedy, which arouses shudders of amusement and laughter, describes a breed apart – bantering, bickering ruffians who usually do the indecent thing. Mojo is rather reminiscent of that gruesome Jacobean drama, The Revenger’s Tragedy, with its sardonic humour and amoral, violent people.
‘The confident Mr Butterworth, who is not far into his twenties, has confidently imagined himself back to 1958 when rock’n‘roll was lightening the hearts and other vital parts of the youth of England. And although Mojo does not brim with period detail Butterworth inventively creates a pulsating, rhythmic sort of diction, a cryptic sort of patter and chatter for his ruffians.
‘The situation is Ezra’s Atlantic club in Soho’s Dean Street – murkily realistic in Ultz’s sparse setting. Here, in the high hot summer, Sweets and Potts, two sharp-suited, pill-popping chaps in their early twenties, played for all their comic worth by Matt Bardock an dAndy Serkis, vainly try to discover what has happened at Ezra’s meeting with another local Mr Big – Sam Ross. A power game is being waged over the lucrative voice and body of Silver Johnny, the latest teenage rock’n‘roll singer and heart-throbber.
‘Ian Rickson’s atmospheric, deftly acted production, responding to the lure of Butterworth’s fast-track repartee, sets such a cracking pace that it’s as hard for us as Sweets and Potts to gather what’s afoot.’
‘Welcome to the authentic world of the Krays, though convulsively foul-mouthed in the manner of present-day successors. And of Reservoir Dogs, with which Butterworth’s paly has a lot in common, from the spivvy suits to the cleverly-choreographed business with guns and knives. But while one senses Tarantino grinning like a cruel child at the fantasies he’s unleashed, Butterworth seems genuinely curious about the druggy characters he has created.
Apart from the Elvis figure – whose main job is to hang upside down and get kicked from time to time – all the parts in this play are rich with interest and, under Ian Rickson’s direction, acted with superb acomplishment.’
Independent on Sunday