Jez Butterworth’s new play Jerusalem is a comic, contemporary vision of life in our green and pleasant land.

On St George’s Day, the morning of the local county fair, Johnny Byron, local waster and modern day Pied Piper, is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his children want their dad to take them to the fair, Troy Whitworth wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of mates want his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.

Jerusalem is the first time Butterworth’s work has returned to the Royal Court’s stage since 2006’s The Winterling. The Sloane Square venue has also previously staged Butterworth’s plays The Night Heron and Mojo, for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy in 1996.

Rylance, who leads the cast of Jerusalem, is the actor/director who was previously Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. Among his previous acting credits are a lauded rendition of Olivia in Twelfth Night, a Laurence Olivier Award-winning performance as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and a Tony Award-winning outing in Boeing Boeing, a role he played both in the West End and on Broadway.

Jerusalem is directed by former Royal Court Artistic Director Ian Rickson, who also directed The Winterling in 2006. Rickson’s recent credits include The Seagull, both in London and on Broadway, and The Hothouse at the National Theatre.

In addition to Jeruslaem, 2009 sees playwright and director come together at the Almeida Theatre with the European premiere of Parlour Song.

For more about Jerusalem at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, read the First Night Feature.

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