Drawing: Ian Rickson and Jez Butterworth

Ian Rickson Jez Butterworth

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.


Drawing: Mojo, starring Brendan Coyle, Rupert Grint, Daniel Mays, Ben Whishaw, Colin Morgan and Tom Rhys Harries


The first major revival of Jez Butterworth’s Olivier award-winning black comedy Mojo is currently in previews at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London. The original production directed by Ian Rickson opened at the Royal Court Theatre in July 1995 prior to a sell out West End run in 1996.

Two of Britain’s great theatre collaborators, Jez and Ian reunite for this staging after their hit sensation Jerusalem and the critically acclaimed The River in recent years. A subsequent film adaption featuring Harold Pinter himself, was directed by Jez in 1997.

Set against the fledgling rock’n’roll scene of 1950’s Soho, the savagely funny play delves into the sleazy underworld and power games of London’s most infamous district. It features a stellar ensemble cast, Brendan Coyle, Rupert Grint (making his stage debut), Daniel Mays, Ben Whishaw, Colin Morgan and Tom Rhys Harries. The first performance was on Saturday evening (26 October) which I was lucky enough to get a £10 ticket for (standing in the balcony). I returned on Monday with my sketch which all the cast signed at the stage door. Mojo opens 13 November and will run to 25 January 2014.