EFR - Reviews of Mojo

Mojo

Fri 5th – Thu 25th August 2011

Venue

Venue

reviews

Joe Nicholson

at 09:14 on 6th Aug 2011

0agrees

0disagrees

Mojo was described by the Sunday Times as a mix of the “verbal menace of Harold Pinter and the physical violence of Quentin Tarantino”: quite an accolade, one which left me eager to discover exactly how that combination would work on stage.

The venue, a studio attached to the Zoo theatre, is intimate, but having seats around three sides of the stage floor avoids a claustrophobic feel. Indeed, this intimacy works to the script’s benefit: set in one room in the Atlantic nightclub in 1958, the audiences feels as if they are directly involved in the animated dialogue in front of them. Designer Anna Lewis does well in creating a fairly minimal but effective stage centering around the jukebox, which immediately transports the audience fifty years back in time. The opening exchange between Potts and Sweets, a vaguely caricatured comedy duo, again draws you in to believe in an exaggerated cockney world of drugs, dodgy deals and rock n’ roll.

James Corrigan and Rhys Bevan succeed in creating Potts and Sweets as light-hearted and irresistibly funny, yet I question the decision of director Matt Maltby in shifting the tone of the play from such a light-hearted peak to the development of Pinter-esque tension, as the comedy doesn’t quite give way at first to the menace of Baby; Joe Eyre’s character at first seeming out of place. Nevertheless, the play quickly moves on and the audience is quickly enveloped in the growing menace: the comedy begins to drop away as a more uneasy atmosphere is created. Eyre does well in creating a character whose gravity on stage grew towards the end of the one-act production, lines such as “kiss my pegs” instilling an almost tangible nervousness in the spectators. The play comes to a powerful close as the plot twists spectacularly, which is played out very well by Eyre and Jacob Fortune who plays Mickey.

It’s fair to say that the play improves towards the end as this dramatic tension is built upon: the underlying violence comes to a startling head. Mojo perhaps lacks the glamour of Tarantino, but the comedy of Sweets and Potts is successful. Within the broader scope of the play, I’d say that this doesn’t quite work alongside the building threat, but the way in which the action moves on towards the powerful conclusion is really memorable: you’ll have to see it yourself to find out why!

agree
disagree

Ryan Sarsfield

at 09:43 on 6th Aug 2011

0agrees

0disagrees

It’s 1958 at the Atlantic nightclub, Soho. Welcome to the paranoid, violent world of London’s clubland. Premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 1995, Mojo sees a revival at this year’s Fringe by student run Acorn Productions.

Director, Matt Maltby’s cast are certainly well suited to their roles. Of particular note is Jacob Fortune’s, Mickey. Throughout Fortune commands the stage, controlled and imposing, he’s got the whole London hard-nut persona down to a tee – physical presence, accusing stare, deep voice, the lot. The rapport between Potts (James Corrigan) and Sweets (Rhys Bevan) is also cracking, literally. With conversations full of quick fire dialogue both deliver one-liners almost always with comic precision.

The constantly evolving power struggles within the group are strongly presented, helped by an increasing sense of claustrophobia as the play progresses. With no set changes the world of the stage becomes one in which characters are both enemies and comrades and the strong dynamics between cast members creates the aggressive intensity needed to hold the audience on a knife edge. That said, this intensity is not maintained constantly. At points this fast-paced dark comedy does seem to drag and lose momentum, particularly into tableaux where it would seem important for tension to be maintained. The plot is slow to emerge; the play, rather, gains its power from the nuances in relationships between the characters. Much of this power derives from the paranoid repetitiveness of conversation as the small-time gangsters’ drug-fuelled revelry gives way to a brutal reality. Despite this, I cannot help but feel that such repetitive dialogue is slightly overdone - there simply isn’t enough in the plot to sustain momentum throughout the whole play. I would, therefore, suggest that such weaknesses are due mainly to the script, although lack of clarity in exchanges between Potts and Sweets in the opening scene perhaps makes the plot, initially, a little elusive. However, considering the dramatic strength the pair achieves in later scenes it does not seem unreasonable to assume that this will resolve itself as the run progresses. It also takes Joe Eyre (Baby) a while to settle into his character, although, once grounded, he makes a great job of the transition from vacant petulant heir into something more baleful and controlling.

Mojo is worth watching just for the final scene. As the plot is finally realized the fantastic twist is acted brilliantly, and it is here that Ed Baranski (Skinny), comes into his own by being both tragic and hilarious. It is the impressively strong cast that really makes Mojo worth a look at.

agree
disagree

Audience Avg.

1 vote, 0 comments

Click here for more event information

cast involved

other events on

Version 0.3.7a