Review: MOJO by RG.us


published 6 November 2014
written by RG.us


Our whole RG.us staff attended Rupert’s first stage premiere of Mojo. A couple of days later we sat back together to share our thoughts.


mojo

Karo: So, we summed it up right after the premiere as “hilarious. unforgettable. fantastic. amazing. disturbing. genius.” Care to elaborate?
Tao: Well, this was my first play, so it was amazing not only as a play, but just witnessing it for the first time. I hope all plays make me feel this way.
Malene: Well, my unforgettable still stands as my word since I keep having flashbacks and getting lines stuck in my head… often at the most inappropriate times since I want to laugh out loud. It had a very different feel to me compared to the other plays I’ve seen… very very different.
Tao: I’m pretty sure the next time someone goes, “Calm down!” I’m going to say, “I am calm. I’m talking.”
Kathy: Loved that!
Malene: yeah
Karo: One of the best lines ever!
Tao: Rupert’s delivery made it even better.
Malene: These days I keep thinking: “Stop toffee appling me”… I loved the banter between Sidney and Sweets. Their bromance is now my favourite
Tao: Yeah, Daniel Mays and Rupert were exceptional at this. It takes two great actors to pull off the double talk like they did.
Kathy: We had cake today and couldn’t stop thinking “It’s like bread”
Malene: haha
Karo: Daniel and Rupert were awesome. The back-and-forth was so quick and well timed.
Malene: Their ping-pong was the highlight for me. That first scene with them at the table makes the whole play for me. It sets up everything so well and the inappropriate humour is established there.
Karo: I have to say, I loved the opening. Not just the opening with Silver Johnny, but also the fact that you could hear the beat before the curtain opened.
Tao: YES. That beat was what really gets you into it. I also love the very next scene with all of them. Sweets, Sid, Baby, Skinny… and the cutlass.
Malene: Did any of you notice that the cutlass broke the very first time Baby used it?
Tao: Yes. I was like, “did that break?” But great for Ben to be quick with it and not make a big deal. Obviously he’s no newbie, but still.
Malene: The handle flew off when he hit the table and was magically back on in act two. I loved how that was a little mistake but they just carried on.
Tao: Real professionalism.
Karo: Over-enthusiasm! But well played by Ben
Malene: But that scene was so funny – I loved the audience’s reaction when the light comes on and everything’s mayhem… and then the music get’s quiet and all you hear is Rupert yelling: “BABY BABY BABY” over and over. So good. “This looks bad”… erhm, YEAH!
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Tao: Yeah. Rupert was really good at make his self known on stage for someone who has never been on. He had a real stage presence. The running gag of “My piss is black.” You’d think that’d get old after the second time, but it wasn’t.
Karo: Rupert held himself up VERY well next to the other experienced stage actors.
Kathy: He did
Tao: He did. I agree with an early review about the only time you noticed that he was a newbie was when he looked to his cast mates about bowing to the audience.
Malene: It’s weird though. Because I read a couple of places that Rupert seemed nervous in the first scene and then got more comfortable as the play went along… and I don’t agree with this at all. It was just the character. He actually seemed a bit more nervous Monday where his hands shook a couple of places.
Tao: Yeah, that was done on purpose. Sweets is suppose to be nervous. Or at least that’s how Rupert decided to play nervous. We were talking about some ticks Rupert had that was totally him. I liked that. I felt he used something he does and thought Sweets would be the one to do it as well. I could be wrong, but just how I saw it.
Karo: He did. Like smoothing his hair down, doing the two-fingers-stroking-along-his-neck-thing.
Malene: Yeah, didn’t we agree that the hands to the hair was him, but the tongue at the side of the mouth was Sweets? Or was it just me agreeing with myself…
Karo: Although he actually made his initially smooth hair stand more and more on edge as the play went along by running his hands through it. Which worked perfectly, seeing as Sweets is becoming more and more nervous.
Tao: LOL Yeah, the hair and neck thing was so Rupert. But I felt he decided that’s something Sweets should do. Yeah. It really just worked for the character.
normal_tn-1000_mj7Malene: The styling of Sweets was actually quite clever. That oversized suit helped to make him seem more dim and naive in some way.
Tao: I was thinking that. The suit was so big on him, but it made him look like he was in over his head. Btw, did they change the suit? Maybe the pictures aren’t doing it justice, but it seemed different to me than opening night.
Malene: No, it’s the same
Tao: Okay, then it was just me.
Malene: But Skinny was different on Monday – he was wearing a 50s jacket thing for most of the play
Kathy: they changed the clothes?
Malene: Yeah, but just Skinny’s clothes
Tao: Speaking of which, I was anticipating a different style for Rupert’s hair. But I guess they went for a more beatnik kind of look.
Karo: Well, Skinny and Baby were sometimes quite similar looking, since they’re wearing the same pants and are both tall and lanky and brunettes
Malene: I did too. But it works quite well when Baby and Skinny have that exaggerated hair and similar hair which only makes their little rivalry stand out more. Little rivalry…. erhm… big big big rivalry might be better.
Tao: Hah
Kathy: We never really got to know where the rivalry came from, did we?
Tao: No, that was definitely open ended.
Karo: I thought the rivalry came from Baby being jealous that Skinny was a favourite of Mickey, who was in charge of the club that belonged to Baby’s father. Baby’s father being Ezra who…well.
Kathy: Amazing sentence Karo!
Karo: Huh!
Tao: It was interesting how they would describe what Ezra did to Baby as “the funny.” It’s just not called that any more.
Karo: Was it in the 50ies though?
Tao: Yes
Karo: Well, there you have it
Tao: Or people were referred to as “the funny uncle.
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Malene: I actually wish I could see the play again solely for the reason that the audience had such different reactions in places, and it would be so interesting to see how this develops. The most awkard reaction was when Mickey had told Sweets, Sidney and Skinny about Ezra’s murder and Baby walks in. All the actors just become so somber and serious and the audience actually started to laugh – it stopped right away when Mickey says: “Baby, someone’s murdered your father.” Jeeeeesus, you could feel the silence in the theatre.
Tao: Wow. See, this is why they have previews though so they can work on what the audience reacts to.
Karo: The audience at opening night was pretty good anyway.
Malene: Yeah. Again I’ve read that the audience were full of fan-girls that overly laughed at times… not my experience at all.
normal_tn-1000_mj8Karo: I disagree with that one article about “fangirls” reaction. The only time anything remotely fangirlish happened was when the light went on at the beginnning and Rupert was on stage. After that, there was nothing fangirlish.
Malene: Agreed!
Karo: No, huge part of that laughter was male.
Kathy: actually I was really surprised of the lack of girls in the audience… but maybe that was just our area
Tao: I agree. Everyone seemed to behave appropriately.
Kathy: Nothing compared to Romeo and Juliet (in New York starring Orlando Bloom) two weeks ago Karo, right?
Karo: Agree to Romeo and Juliet, THAT was fangirlish! Also, the audience was barely filled with fangirls. Most of the audience was way older.
Tao: I seemed to have more theater geeks around us with the exception of a few young girls sprinkled throughout.
Karo: Plus, there’s barely anything to fangirl about in the play to begin with.
Malene: 6 hunky men…. what’s not to fangirl about?
Karo: Yes, Ben Whishaw with his shirt off was a nice view
Tao: Haha It was hard NOT to fangirl with all that manness
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Malene: This might sound weird, but I loved the reaction to the final scene. You could feel the shock when Baby shoots Skinny… people actually made “oh no” sounds. I hated that scene – poor Skinny
Tao: Yeah. And having read it, I was even taken aback.
Malene: Me too!
Karo: Yes, but that was a death scene REALLY well played. Haven’t seen a death seen that well done in a long time
Tao: It was really good! It was dramatic, but still the humor. “It’s a tiny hole”
Malene: So sad… and he got blood on his new pants ;(
Kathy: it was sooo dramatic… I mean I didn’t know the ending, so I was really relieved to see it is ” only” the side of the head and then …
Malene: It was hard not to laugh when Skinny calls Baby “a twat” because it was delivered so well, but it felt wrong to laugh when he has all this blood coming out of his head and he’s dying.
Tao: I know, you don’t want to laugh. But it was hard with things like that. Or as I said, Sweet’s tiny hole line. Because Rupert’s comedic timing is too awesome to NOT laugh.
Malene: Exactly
Karo: Credit to Rupert about that because it’s one thing to be good timing something funny, but when you’re live on stage, you not only need to time it with the beat of the play, but also with the audience’s reaction-
Malene: Yeah, he nailed that throughout.
Karo: And he got his jokes out so perfectly
Tao: Oh yeah. To quote Evie, “Born to it”
Kathy: Totally!!!
normal_tn-1000_mj5Malene: Okay – favourite scene… Rupert and non-Rupert. Go! Although there’s hardly a non-Rupert since he’s on stage almost all the time…
Tao: Oh. Favorite Rupert scene had to be between the double talk with Sid and the tiny hole moment because it was just delivered so well. Favorite non-Rupert scene was when Baby goes mental and is about to strike Mikey with the Cutlass.
Karo: The opening two-aside with Potts and Sweets. Because it was so funny. Non Rupert, I’d say Skinny’s death, because – as I said – it’s so well played
Tao: I think we all love the double talk though.
Kathy: Favourite non-Rupert the opening with silver Johnny, I thought it had so much style without any word said. Favourite Rupert scene? hard… don’t want to repeat Karo …maybe him coming of the stairs totally tired and confused seeing baby again?
Malene: My favourite with Rupert is also the ping-pong with Potts. I could watch that every day without it getting old. I also love his little interaction alone with Baby… especially when Baby takes the piss and Sweets gets all flustered, and then when he finds out… “I was like, whaaaaaat?”. SO FUNNY!
Tao: I love those two moments where he’s like agreeing with everything said then all of a sudden… “What?” It’s just so very good. I know, just favorite scene, but that popped into my head.
Malene: My non-Rupert scene would be Mickey and Skinny when they just found out about Ezra’s murder. “I got a phonecall”, “Are you sure”, “Of course, I’m fucking sure”. As well as the “Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay…. Okay… We’re fucked!!”
Tao: I loved that whole bit where they were like, “Are you sure? But did you get a phone call? What did they say?” and Mikey is just like, “I just fucking told you.” (Not like that, but just that back and forth. They were idiots and he was exasperated.)
Malene: And Daniel Mays. Holy crap he was fantastic… everything he did was timed so perfectly.
Tao: Agreed!
Karo: He had the moves down!
Tao: Everyone was so fantastic. I mean, right down to Tom who had such a small part but he played it beautifully. And without any, “I want to make a name for myself.”
Karo: Oh god, I felt so sorry for Tom! Because he spent so much time upside down.
Tao: I know. I kept thinking, “My head would hurt right about now.”
Kathy: I almost missed some lines of the other ones, because I was thinking the whole time how long can someone hang head over.
Malene: It looked painful.
Tao: I’m like, is this medically safe?
Malene: And I think Ben will be having a little bit too much fun with him in a months time. He even slapped him on Monday so his tiny part didn’t get any better for him.
Tao: Haha
Karo: Poor Tom!
Malene: Seriously, they NEED to release some kind of trailer for this. The music would play so well with random scenes from it. Although they probably can’t use any dialogue without bleeping everything out.
Tao: I mean, that had to be hard to just play it without wanting to establish yourself among big names and bigger parts. I want them to release scenes!! lol They need another red band trailer.
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Karo: So, let’s rate it.
Malene: I give it 6 out of 6 toffee apples
Tao: I may be biased, but yes, I’m going with 6 toffee apples too! It was just so amazing.
Kathy: 7 out of 6 for the actors … 5 out of 6 for the play, so it is 6 out of 6 in the end.
Karo: I’m giving each of them one toffee apple, so that’s 6.
Malene: It’s just our personal opinion and this was completely my cup of tea. Even if Rupert hadn’t been in it I would still love it to bits. But Rupert just made everything doubly brilliant. I’m so happy he chose this play.
Tao: I agree. This was a great decision. I would love to see more black comedies like this.
Karo: Agreed. Anyone planning to see it again?
Tao: I would if I could! Come to America, Mojo!
Malene: I’d LOVE to see it again. Plus, the way Rupert seemed soooo grateful that people would actually come and see him in this made it all worth it. He is just so happy that his fans support him in this and I urge everyone to try and go see it.
Kathy: definitely
Tao: Same here. I love his humbleness, and that alone is a reason to see it.
Kathy: Can’t wait to see it again!
Karo: Definitely. And it’s great to see him acting live and be spot on.
Tao: Plus the play is awesome. And Rupert is awesome. And all the actors.
Karo: So looking forward to closing night at the latest.

So… to sum it up: YOU WON’T WANNA MISS IT!!!


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