The play Jerusalem opened last night at the New Theater, Newtown, Sydney. This of this as the UK TV series Skins, on stage. It opens with Parry's music and Blake's words, sung by what appeared to be an angel (see the video trailer). In a remnant of English wood threatened by housing development. An outcast fights council orders for eviction, while providing a refuge for the young and those who simply want to escape suburban life. The kids come to his camp to party and the adults to buy drugs, but will any of them come to his aid when the authorities move in? As with life, the issues are not that clear cut and there are no easy answers.
Tom Bannerman has produced what at first looks like a solid rusted corrugated iron shack, but is slightly translucent, giving hints of a world beyond the camp. Nicholas Eadie as ‘Rooster’ gives a complex performance of a character who at first seems to be just a drug dealing drunk, but has connections to the ancient people of the land. The actors playing Pea and Tanya as two local "girls" have the most fun, without the cares and deeper concerns of others and just there to have a good time.
Jez Butterworth's play, first performed in London in 2009, at 2 hours and 40 minutes is a little long with two intermissions and is hard work for the audience. There are plenty of laughs at the expense of authority and the double standards of society. There is considerable bad language and some violence (plus Morris dancing). This is perhaps a play you don't take your church group to (despite the title), but then again perhaps you do. This might also make a good night out for council workers who have had to deal with the issues in real life.
Jerusalem is on at the New Theater until
14 September 2013.I attended the opening courtesy of New Theater and the Pastizzis from the Pastizzi Pasta Cafe.