Review: Andrew Scott made me cry in The Shed (the superb Sea Wall)
Review: The American Plan at St James Theatre

Ben Whishaw is getting his Mojo on and why this is more exciting than Peter and Alice

ImageI don't know, you wait three years for Ben Whishaw to hit the stage again and he does two plays in a year. Not that I'm complaining (my bank manager is but la la la). No, certainly not complaining, far from it.

The second of his 2013 stage outings is an interesting prospect indeed. Mojo is a Jez 'Jerusalem' Butterworth play set in the seedy, gang-run clubs of 1950s Soho.

Now Mr W is a versatile actor but I've long harboured a desire to see him play nasty. He's been essentially playing tragic and generally good characters for a while - brilliantly of course. 

Back in his early career he played some grungier characters such as Keith Richards in Stoned and the superbly annoying Sidney in Layer Cake (watch this clip if you haven't experienced the joy that is Sidney but be aware there is a major plot spoiler).

We nearly got to see him play a Californian slacker who gets drawn into a world of crime in the TV series All Signs of Death but only the pilot was shot (compilations of BW bits here, worth watching to hear him say 'He's a total fucking psycho' in an American accent).

Even in his early stage career he played edgier characters - a drug dealer in Philip Ridley's Mercury Fur for example.

In Mojo he is playing Baby, described as a psycho and mentally unstable which sounds like a delicious departure from recent roles. The beginning of the second scene is set up in the play text like this (update - Colin Morgan has been cast as Skinny):

Upstairs at the Atlantic. SKINNY is tied with his hands around the back of a juke box, his pants round his ankles. BABY, naked from the waist up, wild, is wielding an old navy cutlass and screaming at SKINNY that he is going to die. The others are all appealing to BABY to stop, but BABY swings the cutlass around pointing it at each of the them in turn. SWEETS gets up on the desk, still shouting as BABY pushes the point against SKINNY's cheek.

Now I loved Peter and Alice, his first stage outing this year, and it was joyful to watch for so many reasons but to see Mr W play menacing and dangerous is a far more exciting prospect. There is still an element of emotional damage in the story - I won't spoil it - but this seems to be a new avenue for his career. I'm hoping he gets a taste for the nasty as I've got his name pencilled in next to Iago in Othello and Richard III for future stage work.

Mojo will open at the Harold Pinter Theatre on Oct 26 and if you register on the website you can buy tickets for performances during the first three weeks. Other cast announced are Rupert Grint (another tick on my HP actors on stage list) who will play Sweet, Daniel Mays - Potts and Brendan Coyle - Mickey. Full casting as well as details about the length of the run and general ticket sales will all be announced in September.

And yes I'll be there on the 26th. Need you ask?