Sometimes playwrights, intrepid as they often are, take us down very murky paths. It is part of the rich tapestry of regularly theatre-going…opening one’s eyes to other world and experiences…as long as one is only passing through!
British playwright Jez Butterworth’s play MOJO, written when he was just 24 years old, takes us into one such world, a seedy Soho nightclub in the late 1950s.
The club is run by gangsters who don’t place too high a value on human life. They’re into making as much money as possible, and making demi-gods of young rock and rollers. Their workers are all young kids pumped up on amphetamines and a restless, aggressive energy.
MOJO kick-starts with the cast belting out a great old rock and roll number but soon gets stuck into the nit and gritty. In the inner sanctum of the club a murder takes place. The body of the gangster boss of the club comes out onto the stage in two separate garbage bins; his body has been sawn off in half by another mobster…
We soon learn what the murder is about…..there is a power struggle happening over who is going to manage and make a motza out of the next big thing Silver Johnny and who is going to get the opportunity to go along for the ride…
Butterworth’s play fleshes out themes of human frailty and the eternal striving for control and power.
Iain Sinclair’s current revival for the Sydney Theatre Company is a tense and chilling ride with an under-current of very dark humour. The performances by Jeremy Davidson, Eamon Farren, Lindsay Farris, Paul Kilpinen, Tony Martin, Josh McConville and Ben O’Toole are uniformly
Alon Ilsar’s great percussion work, on the side of the stage, brilliantly commented and reflected on the action.
A rock solid revival, Jez Butterworth’s MOJO is playing Wharf 1 until July 6.