Jez Butterworth’s Mojo has some fine comic sequences but the gags undercut its power

14 Nov


These days, Jez Butterworth splits his time between writing for the theatre and working on screenplays. His love of films is already very much in evidence in his breakthrough stage comedy, Mojo, which is set at the moment that rock’n’roll began to sweep the country in the 1950s.

It’s frequently bracketed with Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels – both are London gangland capers and appeared within a few years of each other in the 1990s.

But in Ian Rickson’s revival, it is the play’s debt to post-war Hollywood westerns and B-movies that emerges most clearly as the staff of the Atlantic Club in Soho batten down the hatches in preparation for an onslaught from their enemies following the murder of their boss, Ezra.

There are some fine, not to mention gruesome, comic sequences in Rickson’s starry production. Daniel Mays and Rupert Grint make a splendid double act as…

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