Jez Butterworth’s play Mojo is currently being revived at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London and its star cast is assuring a practically sold out run and a very emotional show.
This is the first performance of Butterworth’s work that I’ve seen, although I have read Jerusalem and The River. What is for sure is how the precision of his writing makes even the most obscure topics available to all. Mojo may present pill popping and hyperactive characters, some of which stay stoic even in the face of violence (this is rarely to my liking), but its tremendous performances, Ian Rickson’s direction and Stephen Warbeck’s music succeed at sucking the audience into a 1950s Soho music club and connecting with its buzz and intoxication.
The ensemble is without a doubt what makes this an exceptional show throughout. Rupert Grint is delightful to see on stage, and totally embraces his role as Sweets and the friendship between him and Potts (Daniel Mays). Colin Morgan is definitely someone to watch out for, and shocks the most in his death scene. I have rarely felt this sorry for a character. Mays is, as always, delightful, and I am now a fan. His energy and generosity steal the stage and you can sense his pleasure in playing.
Ben Whishaw is a very mysterious actor, and his portrayal of Baby did not help me understand him more. There is no doubt that his performance is bold and that Whishaw is a versatile actor, but what I thought at the end of Mojo was that I need to see him in something else.
Ultimately, Mojo succeeds at taking us to another world and despite its sometimes distant themes, is thrilling to watch.