Playwright Jez Butterworth and director Ian Rickson have formed a formidable team and are considered one of contemporary British theatre’s great collaborators. Jez’s debut play, Mojo, the black gangster comedy set in a Soho nightclub in the 1950s, premiered at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1995, directed by Ian Rickson who became the resident artistic director from 1998 – 2006, replacing Stephen Daldry.
They have been friends and collaborators ever since, with Ian directing all of Jez’s plays. That includes the smash hit Jerusalem, that was a runaway success at the Court, on West End and Broadway.
Eighteen years later Ian directed a revival of Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre, featuring an all star cast, including Ben Whishaw, Daniel Mays and Rupert Grint.
I love Jez’s writing and am a huge fan of Ian’s direction. They are both very likeable chaps; always engaging and obliging.
I drew this sketch of Ian and Jez in rehearsals for Mojo, hoping to get both to sign it on press night in November 2013. I managed to get Jez, but couldn’t find Ian, so figured he’d be around through the season. Whenever our paths did cross over the next two years, I didn’t have the sketch on me.
It wasn’t until press night of his most recent play The Red Lion at the National’s Dorfman Stage last week that I had a chance. I had to politely excuse myself at the official gathering in the foyer after the performance. He was his usual friendly self, liked the sketch and happily signed it.