Eight years ago, Jez Butterworth blew our faces off with ‘Jerusalem’, his wild, epic, very rude play about the decline of rural England. It made a superstar out of lead actor Mark Rylance. And it didn’t do too badly for its author, who has spent much of the intervening time working in Hollywood – most notably on ‘Spectre’ – with only one play in the interim (the deliberately low-key ‘The River’, which played in an 85-seat theatre and was basically impossible to get into).
But this year Butterworth is returning with ‘The Ferryman’, a mystery set in rural Derry in 1981. And he’s brought friends: ‘Spectre’ director Sam Mendes will direct, and it will star Paddy Considine.
It is a very, very hot ticket and sold out its entire run at the Royal Court in a single day – a record for the legendary venue. As such the unusual but unsurprising decision has been taken to announce a transfer to the West End months before anybody sees it: ‘The Ferryman’ will run at the Gielgud Theatre for 16 weeks, starting June 20, with tickets going on sale at 9am on Friday. It’s up to you if you want to risk waiting for reviews, but it’s worth noting that by the end of ‘Jerusalem’s West End run, people were queuing up overnight to bag a day-ticket so, er, be warned.
‘The Ferryman’ is at the Royal Court Theatre Apr 24–May 20 and the Gieldud Theatre Jun 20–Oct 7.
Want to see a show without leaving the house? You can watch the sold-out new Complicite play right here, for free, from Sunday.