Mojo Mickybo by Owen McCafferty
Trafalgar Studios: 27th June – 21st July
Directed by: Jonathan Humphreys
Reviewed by John Roberts – Teacher
This production was first seen at the Arcola Theatre in March of this year, and has now become the first show for the theatre to get a west end transfer, and does this show deserve such a transfer? You bet!
Mojo Mickybo written by Owen McCafferty tells the story of two boys growing up in Belfast during the summer of 1970 blissfully unaware of the troubles of the sectarian violence that is going on around them, instead they opt for some adolescent fun of playing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Rolling down hills and trying to avoid attacks from local bullies “Gank the Wank” and “Fuck Face.”
McCafferty has written a play that has very dark undertones, whilst still giving the audience plenty to laugh at. Director Jonathan Humphries who is only 22 should be congratulated, this is a play that has real pace, pathos and humour; it is so tight, that to squeeze in anymore energy and emotion you would have to use some serious lubrication!
Martin Brody is a likable Mojo, full of young teenage naivety and sensitivity, Brody just needs to make more of a difference vocally between the 7 or so characters that he plays throughout the piece, at times they seemed to merge into one, but never the less this is a little picky for what otherwise is a fantastic performance, but it is Benjamin Davies (Mickybo) who is the real ‘Tour-de-Force’ of this piece. It is easy to see why Davies won the Olivier Award for best new comer in 2001. Davies’ stage presence is electrifying; he demands the audience attention with his perfect comic timing and physicalisation, he could have had the audience eating out of his hands.
Mark Friend’s set lends itself to the play simply but effectively with a subtle but telling divide of colours representing the troubles that lie in Belfast.
It’s great that this play has been given a west end transfer – one that it thoroughly deserves, its just a pity that over the course of its run in the west end its only going to be seen by the equivalent of a sold out show at the Victoria Apollo. This show has legs and if it doesn’t use them to go on tour in the very near future then it’s a travesty.
Mojo Mickybo runs at the Trafalgar Studios until 21st July for more information visit http://www.theambassadors.com/trafalgarstudios/ or www.strawberryvaleproductions.com
Photos by Stephanie Schaerer,