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Best play ever? pt3: Jerusalem (Apollo Theatre 2011)

Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem' had taken the West End and Broadway by storm and we caught it on its return to the West End. Annette was really not very well but in those days we didn't need to self-isolate and she bravely decicded to see the show anyway.


As a play I guess it's OK - Mackenzie Crook seems drawn to these bucolic folksy situations (Worzel Gummidge, The Detectorists) and as a piece about the state of the nation it was funny and often moving. But what set it apart was Mark Rylance's performance as Rooster Byron. He'd clearly trained hard for the role: he's usually quite slight but here he'd put on a huge amount of muscle. This he demonstrated at the start by tipping into a controlled handstand from which he lowered his head into a water trough.


His study of the physicality of the character was extraordinary - a trait we saw again in his playing of Olivia in Twelfth Night. At the interval I thought we were in the presence of genius. By then end it had gone onto another level entirely and his final agonising monologue was searingly raw and uninhibited.


Here's the trailer - shame you can't see the full show!


I've never seen a performance like it. Extraordinary.




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