I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that it takes quite a lot to get me to book tickets for a play. Given the stellar cast in this revival of Jez Butterworth’s 1995 play Mojo; consisting of Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey), Daniel Mays (Mrs Biggs), Colin Morgan (Merlin), Ben Winshaw and Tom Rhys Harries, it had been on my ‘To Book’ list for quite some time. So when an endearing ticket offer flew into my email inbox on boxing day (premium stalls seats for approx £30) I jumped at the chance!
On a rather cold Thursday afternoon in the middle of January, I found myself outside the Harold Pinter Theatre, not really sure what to expect from the next couple of hours! I soon found out that the plot centres around a night club murder in London. All of the subtext of the murder is conveyed using the dialogue of the characters on stage (as opposed to actually being seen); I found this to be a little confusing at times, probably because a lot of the dialogue was delivered in rapid fire succession. Both acts flow almost seamlessly through real time; it’s one of those plays where not a lot actually happens, you just hear about a lot happening, although act two does contain some nice twists and tension. The dialogue had an odd way of being deadly serious one second then flipping to being hilariously irrelevant the next. Although I didn’t find the black humour as laugh out loud funny as some of the audience (that seems to happen a lot!) – I did enjoy it!
The plot was perhaps secondary to the cast, who really seemed to bounce off each other. Daniel Mays cemented into my mind what a great actor he really is and I was pleasantly surprised to realise that Rupert Grint could match his energy and timing. Colin Morgan and Ben Winshaw did an excellent job, keeping up characters that are (I hope) far removed from themselves throughout a large amount of stage time; again bouncing off of each others energy. I was only a little disappointed with Brendan Coyle, whose portrayal of Mickey (second in command at the club, older than the other characters and central to the plot) seemed disturbingly similar to that of Bates in Downton Abbey and lacked a little conviction!
I also liked the simple set, upstairs in the club for act one and downstairs in the club for act two. A simplicity that was necessary for the real time nature of the plot and had the added advantage of not being distracting so that you could really focus in on the performances of the cast.
Overall I would recommend a visit if only to witness the absorbing performances of this group of actors first hand!