(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/13.)
Jez Butterworth's first play burst on the scene like a fireball in 1995, and it's fascinating to see it revived now in a superlatively acted production by Ian Rickson. Mojo is defiantly urban where the subsequent work is mainly rural. But, like Jerusalem, it is about people who become legends in their own minds and use language to buttress their fragile sense of self. "Out there it's wolves," says a resident of the tacky Soho club, where the action is set in 1958, just as rock'n'roll is becoming big business. But the idea of the club as a safe haven is shattered when its owner, Ezra, refuses to sell his new discovery, Silver Johnny, to a powerful rival, Sam Ross. As a result, Ezra's body is returned to the premises in two dustbins, and the club is placed under siege during a hot summer weekend. What follows is a battle for power between Ezra's sidekick, Mickey, and the late owner's psychotic son, Baby.