What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the wonderful Jerusalem? It is a marvellous portrait of England’s green and pleasant land in the twenty first century and I can safely say that I enjoyed it even more the second time around, with tears welling up once more when Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron finally has to give up his fight to stay in his mobile home in the wood.
Mark Rylance doesn’t act, he inhabits and it is impossible to imagine anyone else being the strutting, limping teller of implausible fairy tales to the young who frequently visit him for wild drug and alcohol fuelled parties. On occasions he delivers lines directly at the audience enabling us to see dark eyes glinting with the heady mix of mischief and something dark and disturbing. Yet he also manages to convey awkwardness when talking to his son and elicit our sympathy when really his character is often anything but sympathetic. He is certainly the most exciting and real actor I have ever had the pleasure to watch.
The rest of the cast are also impeccable, from the excellent Mackenzie Crook as Ginger to Alan David as The Professor. The Designer, Ultz has done the most wonderful job creating the Rooster’s ‘coop’, Ian Rickson, the Director is flawless and the play itself, written by Jez Butterworth is a modern classic, which mixes humour with tenderness, tragedy and violence.
For me and I’m sure for everyone else who has had the privilege of seeing Jerusalem, it is one of the best nights ever at the theatre and it makes me feel so proud to be British.