Second thoughts review: Ben Whishaw, Colin Morgan and Rupert Grint in Mojo
Props with a life of their own, when 'dead' became 'bed' and the Richard II Star Wars connection

Ben Whishaw's Baby and the second Mojo visit

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Ben Whishaw in rehearsal for Mojo

In my previous reviews I feel I've only really touched upon the play and Ben Whishaw's character Baby. This casting had got me very excited when it was announced as it seemed such a departure for him - he was going to play a psycho.

Now Baby isn't an out and out baddie - that is still a part I want to see him take on - but he is far from nice. In fact I was trying to think of a more complex character he's played.

Baby is vain, regularly smoothing his hair and quiff in fact he must have read my note in my review because there was much more preening last night. He also likes the latest clothes and gets very upset when Skinny (Colin Morgan) copies his style.

Or does he? And this is where Baby starts to get complex. He behaves very aggressively towards Skinny accusing him of looking at him or is it case of 'the lady doth protest too much'?

*warning of plot spoilers beyond this point*

If he is mixed up about his sexuality then it would be understandable. We find out that he was sexually abused by his dad. He was scared enough of him, that when he was a child he believed his dad was going to kill him. He's also watched his dad move onto a younger model - Silver Johnny (Tom Rhys Harries). 

Baby has a menacing edge and a dangerous edge but the threat is in how unpredictable he is, lashing out with little provocation, making jokes and singing one minute and being aggressive the next. He can be up in someone's face threatening and then turn and laugh like its a joke.

However, he also has moments of lucid wit and almost poetic observation of the world around him, there is a calmness that descends upon him after the violent conclusion. I get the impression that he is a lot cleverer than he outwardly appears. I believe he suspects Mickey (Brendan Coyle) of involvement in his dad's murder rather than merely stumbling on the truth in the pursuit of revenge.

Could the psychotic behavior be a mask? A defence mechanism? Or perhaps he really is emotionally disturbed - he talks of periods where he doesn't feel connected with what is going on around him. During those times when he allows himself, momentarily, to feel he doesn't seem able to cope.  

On Saturday, I didn't feel like the more menacing side of Baby quite came to the fore. There was too much laughter which drowned it out and almost made him a joke. He certainly wasn't a joke last night.

Ben Whishaw is one of those actors that seems to truly inhabit the skin of the character they are playing. His is just as much a physical performance as a verbal one - the way he walks, sits, stands, moves his head, even lights and holds a cigarette, it is all Baby. It's why I flew to New York to see him in The Pride. 

In Mojo he sings (beautifully) and dances with an almost wild abandon (not quite the wild abandon of the short film Beat) he also threatens and kills. There are no tears, no tugging on the heart strings with this character and for that it has exceeded expectation. It feels like in Baby he has opened up a whole new avenue of performances to explore which is an exciting prospect.

Related posts:

You can read Poly's brilliant review of Mojo here.

First thoughts review: Ben Whishaw, Colin Morgan and Rupert Grint in Mojo

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