C Venue 34, Edinburgh

Set in 1950’s London, Mojo is Jez Butterworth’s Olivier Award winning play located in The Atlantic Club,  where pop singer Silver Johnny appears to be on the verge of the big time and the club’s various workers wheel and deal with each other, hoping for a slice of the action. But when the club’s owner, Ezra turns up dead in two separate dustbins, paranoia descends…

It’s a brilliant play – swaggering, macho, loaded with canny period detail and a homoerotic subtext – you have to remember that in the 1950’s, homosexuality was something that had to be kept clandestine. Mojo inhabits the kind of territory that Harold Pinter made his own back in the day and Butterworth excels at finding the dark humour in a brutal and unforgiving world. This is an amateur production, by the oddly named company My Son Tristan, but the actors rise to the challenge and submit excellent performances.

It’s hard to single out one player in particular, but Cody Maltby as the pill-popping Sweets, gets most of the funny lines and has a field day with them. The real tragedy is that on the night we visited, the production had attracted a crowd of just sixteen people and with hindsight, a more intimate venue would have been more appropriate. But we’ve seen packed venues presenting less assured performances and poorer material than is on offer here, so catch this before it’s gone. There’s plenty to admire.

4.4 stars

Philip Caveney


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