Jerusalem

5
Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook at the Apollo Theatre
By Robert Iles

Jez Butterworth's mammoth play returns to London for a limited run with the original production and Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook reviving their roles of Rooster and Ginger. This was a much anticipated revival as the original run was performed to rave reviews with the Telegraph describing Mark Rylance's Rooster as 'one of the greatest stage performances ever witnessed'. Well, who am I to disagree - this was one of the most extraordinary things I have seen on stage and I have no idea how they manage two performances on matinee days!

This funny, poignant, play is set in a disappearing England. Whilst the annual fair goes on, Rooster, who lives in his abandoned caravan in the woods, awaits eviction whilst continuing to provide stories, drugs and alcohol for his troupe of lost followers - most notably Ginger. The conflicts between Rooster and the Council, Rooster and his estranged wife and son and the worries of a young man emigrating for no apparent reason and of Troy, looking for his lost daughter, all come together on this one day. In the end, can Rooster's stories save him - if he believes himself? 

I was lucky enough to see this actually on St George's Day and we were treated to some post applause comedy by Mark Rylance as he ribbed one of the other actors - not sure how he still had the energy! A three hour matinee after a nearly 5 hour drive up from Cornwall ... worth it? YOU BET! A few times a year, if I'm lucky, I see a show that actually brings tears to my eyes when it finishes, tears brought on by having witnessed such a beautifully crafted piece of theatre that I am just overwhelmed. This was just such a show. I feel so lucky to have seen it, I hope you get the chance...


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