32. Matinee Idol

Today we went to the Apollo Theatre and saw Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem.  We picked it because it had rave reviews, we’d heard Mark Rylance the lead actor was extraordinary and we could actually get in.

SO there we were at 1:30, taking our two expensive seats in the stalls, snuggled up as we were with a few hundred kindly folk  from a grey power convention (that’s what it looked like).

I’m not going to lie to you, I was nervous it was going to be too too worthy for me.  The programme said it was a three hour show.   That’s a long time for a couple of cats to sit still. We had a contigency plan to stay til the end of the first act  if it wasn’t our English Breakfast.

Then the gloves came off, and with it the top of my head. Screaming music, strobe flashing images of the hell party  in a caravan in the English Woods, we certainly got our wake up call.

It was an extraordinary piece of theatre and a spellbinding performance from Rylance. As one of the reviews said, he is surely the only actor in the world who can somehow contrive to limp and strut at the same time, his dark eyes glittering with a mixture of mischief and something darker and more disturbing.

Butterworths’s Jerusalem is a defiant celebration of personal freedom (at least they’re alive man!), yet at the same time one feels an undoubted sympathy for anyone who finds themselves living near a man like Rooster Byron. I wouldn’t want him moving into Westmere, I can tell you that much.

The play was at once funny and sad, tender and terrifyingly violent, its amphetamine rush of excitement was watching Rylance, a new idol for me, giving the most thrilling performance it has ever been my privilege to witness.

We staggered into the daylight at 4:30. Speechless. Well, there was one word:


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