Norwich Players prepare to stage Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem
- Credit: Sean Owen/Reflective Arts
Norwich's Maddermarket Theatre is preparing to take to the stage with Jez Butterworth's state-of-the-nation play Jerusalem.
The Norwich Players' latest production is set to open on Friday and it tells the story of Johnny 'Rooster' Byron, a local waster and Lord of Misrule.
He is also a wanted man - council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his son wants to be taken to the fair, a vengeful father wants to give him a serious kicking, and a motley crew of mates wants his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.
The original production of Jerusalem was staged at the Royal Court in 2009, with Mark Rylance famously playing the lead role, and the play is considered by many to be a modern theatre classic.
Jez Pike, the Maddermarket's director of productions, said he was delighted to be directing the show for a Norwich stage.
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'It's a really iconic play,' he said.
'Jerusalem still feels like a contemporary play in a contemporary voice but it has such a scale and weight that it feels like you are seeing a classic.'
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He described it as essentially being a play about the clash between modern life and an older version of England, reflecting on ideas of nationhood, identity and a changing way of life.
He added: 'It has everything; richly drawn lovable rogues, comedy, shock, a ticking time-bomb of a plot and an incredible arc that goes from the personal to the epic.'
Over the past few months the Maddermarket Theatre has been forging closer links with students at the University of East Anglia and in this production they make up half of the cast.
Mr Pike said: 'Rehearsals have been not only great fun but tremendously exciting. You can tell when a cast really trust a script and each other. As the director of productions at the Maddermarket it's a pleasure to see talent and ideas being shared across a multi-generational cast with fresh faces joining Norwich Players stalwarts.'
Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth is at the Maddermarket Theatre, in St John's Alley, Norwich, from March 16 to 24.
Tickets £12 (£10 concessions, £5 NUS students). For more information and to book tickets, visit www.maddermarket.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 620917.