Theater review: “Mojo” starring Rupert Grint

1950s Britain. The rock ‘n’ roll craze has begun trickling its way over the pond, infecting a generation teens, bored of their lives in a country still reeling from the Second World War. In London’s most infamous district, teddy boys and thugs found enterprises off the back of home-grown rock ‘n’ roll talent, desperate to get their slice of the piece.

One such business is Mojo, an illegal but popular America inspired club run by overbearing manager Ezra and his eclectic bunch of associates. As the play opens, Mojo is relishing in the triumph of Silver Johnny (Tom Rhys Harries), the latest star to hit the London circuit and their headline act. But even as their star’s fame rises, and their popularity with it, rival entrepreneur Sam Ross takes an interest in the young performer. When Ezra’s body turns up in the dustbin one morning it appears that Ross has taken the ultimate step to ensure his bounty. As the fates of Mojo and its employees hang in the balance as Ezra’s psychotic son, Baby (Ben Whishaw) and Micky (Brendan Cole), the second-in-command, must resolve their differences or risk losing everything.

The all-star cast largely triumph in this devilishly funny revival of Jez Butterworth’s debut play, almost twenty years after its premiere at the Royal Court. Despite coming from a range of backgrounds and experience, all five of the main cast are on an equally footing with impeccable performances throughout. Rupert Grint makes a confident theatre debut as the dim-witted, drug dealing sweets, sparring brilliantly with the other half of this comic due, Daniel Mays’ Potts. The scenes involving all five are consistently thrilling and a joy to watch. The play’s final moments, however, does lack the intensity the situation demands and the jeopardy felt for the character’s moments before, falls flat.

Mojo has all the right ingredients to be bonafide hit and despite the lacklustre climax witnessed in this performance, the production generally reaches these impressive heights. Book your tickets for this production, whilst they still last!

(N.B. This review is based on attendance during previews. Some elements of the production may change once the show has officially opened.)

Review by Claire Furner, MuggleNet Publicity Assistant