January 27th, 2010 admin

Jez Butterworth’s new play Jerusalem opens in the West End next week, after a run at the Royal Court where it scooped awards for best play and, for Mark Rylance, best actor. It’s also getting some fantastic reviews (for instance, here and here).

It is a three-hour comic play that appears to deal with small beer and wastrels, but stealthily becomes a state-of-the-nation play. As Johnny “Rooster” Byron, its hero, supposedly says at birth: “Mother, what is this dark place?” / “’Tis England, my boy, England.”

It’s showing at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue from 28 January 2010 – 4th April.

Here’s the blurb – “A comic, contemporary vision of rural life in our green and pleasant land, Jez Butterworth’s epic new play is wildly original. In part a lament about the erosion of country life, and in part a rebuff to the antiseptic modern world, it features a landmark central performance from Mark Rylance as hellraiser Johnny Byron, ‘a performance so charismatic, so mercurial, so complete and compelling that it doesn’t look like acting’ (Evening Standard), and a superb ensemble cast including Mackenzie Crook who ‘excels’ as Johnny’s sidekick Ginger. On St George’s Day, the morning of the local county fair, Johnny Byron is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his son wants his dad to take him to the fair, and a motley crew of mates want his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.”

You can read an interview with Jez Butterwroth and Mark Rylance by Kate Muir writing in The Times (Saturday 23rd January) here.

And watch a production trailer here.

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