Jez Butterworth's critically acclaimed and award-winning play Jerusalem in London returns to the Apollo Theatre following a sell-out run at the Royal Court Theatre and Apollo Theatre in London during 2009 and 2010, and at the Music Box Theatre on Broadway in 2011
On St George's Day, the morning of the local county fair, Johnny Byron, local waster and modern day Pied Piper, 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, Troy Whitworth wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of mates want his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.
The cast for Jerusalem in London features Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook who are both reprising their roles from the original Royal Court Theatre production. The production is directed by Ian Rickson with designs by Ultz, lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin, sound by Ian Dickinson and music by Stephen Warbeck.
"Very occasionally, a performance is so charismatic, so complete and compelling, that it doesn't look like acting. Instead, it is a total embodiment of a character. Mark Rylance achieves this in Jez Butterworth's wildly original, exceptionally funny new play Jerusalem. It has now transferred to the West End from the Royal Court and is even better. Rylance plays the antic spirit Johnny 'Rooster' Byron, holding court beneath the beech trees in a Wiltshire wood... He's a magnet for the local young, to whom he supplies drugs, drink and chocices, which fits the bit of this contradictory creature, who likes nothing more than to settle down with a spliff to watch Antiques Roadshow. Butterworth's point, as the title signposts, is that England's green and pleasant land is under threat and not always pleasant. Certainly, the Byrons of this world are a mixed blessing and he's not the sort of chap you'd want living next door... Rooster is part Pied Piper, part Johnny Rotten, certainly unwashed, possibly unhinged, a wastrel, a scoundrel, an irresistible comic shaman... It's a comic tour de force that becomes something much deeper and darker. Rooster is ultimately defeated, but Rylance's performance remains a triumph. The must see performance of a lifetime." The Mail on Sunday
"At the heart of Jez Butterworth's new play, Jerusalem, stands a character and a performance by Mark Rylance, which should deeply divide audience opinion... Johnny 'Rooster' Byron is the stuff of parents' nightmares. A washed-up, alcoholic drug-dealer, living in a fetid caravan on the edge of a wood in a West Country village, Byron is a modern-day Pied Piper, with the impressionable teenagers of the district dancing to his anti-establishment tune... Without an actor blessed with Rylance's timing and physical skills, the play could fall flat on its face... The supporting cast has no weak link... Some may see Jerusalem as a patronising take on rural life; some will enjoy its vinegary truth; some may seek deeper symbolic resonances. But that's more than a starting point for argument." The Sunday Telegraph
"Jez Butterworth writes the funniest, most original 'condition of England' plays going, and Jerusalem is a brilliant addition to his work; an outrageously funny portrait of a wild, old, wicked gyppo called Johnny Byron... Mark Rylance is faultless as Johnny, with his lopsided stance, crinkly eyes and soaring flights of fancy... Think Shameless translated to the Forest of Arden. Yet Johnny is the last of a dying species. Will the ancient powers of England rescue him from the whey-faced, lily-livered forces of conformity? Will the pandemoniac spirit of the wildwood yet prevail?" The Sunday Times
Jerusalem was originally staged in London at the Royal Court Theatre where it previewed from 10 July 2009, opened on 15 July 2009 and closed on 22 August 2009 before transferring to the Apollo Theatre in London's West End were it previewed from 28 January 2010, opened on 10 February 2010 and closed on 24 April 2010. The production was then staged in New York's Broadway at the Music Box Theatre where it previewed from 2 April 2011, opened on 21 April 2011 and closed on 21 August 2011. It now returns to London where it will play a strictly limited season at the Apollo Theatre from 8 October 2011.
Jerusalem in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 28 January 2010, opened on 10 February 2010 and closed on 24 April 2010, returned previewed from 8 October 2011, opened on 17 October 2011 and closed on 14 January 2012.