On a hot July evening five men vie for control of the club they all think of as theirs. Their struggle is by turns funny, sad and very rude, but quite unforgettable.
Almost operatic in it’s use of colourful language Butterworth’s play takes apart the stereotypical 60’s gangster and examines the men behind the guns and suits.
A lock stock and two smoking barrels for the theatre. It has won countless prizes including Winner of best play award (Evening Standard)
A funny thing happened..
So there we all are trying to think how we can research this play.
We all think of the most notorious gangsters in recent history, theres the Krays, Richardsons, but Frankie Fraiser is the one we had all heard of, called Britains most dangerous man by one judge. We knew he was a remorseless career criminal who had been in prisen for 43 years for his part in the famous "torture" trials among others.
So we spent the day with him, I don't know about the boys but I was a bit frightened and I have to say it was one of the strangest experiences of my life.
He took the five of us round London. We saw all his old haunts and where as most people would show you, where they went to school or were born, he proudly pointed out the hospital he had left one of his victims. Remarking ruefully, "I left the hatchet sticking out of his head.... people thought I'd gone soft letting him live. I just wanted to teach him a lesson, but I wish I'd taken the hatchet out, it was one of me good ones".
He wasn't anything like his media image, but came across as very shrewd, not at all mad and actually quite charming.
We had the chance to ask loads of questions about the context of Mojo and what London was like at that time (for example the accuracy of the language). It also came out that the actual story of Mojo could well have been based in part on The Krays who wanted to own David Essex (the singer) and tried to entice him away from his manager. I don't know about the others but I left Mr Frasier feeling strangely sad and wiser. For all his wit and bravado it seemed a tragic waste of a life, but we were very grateful for his time and his kindness to us.
By Jez Butterworth
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