A gritty vision of modern British life in Jerusalem

Jerusalem from Pocketsize Theatre in Eastbourne
Jerusalem from Pocketsize Theatre in Eastbourne

Pocket-Size Theatre brings a taste of village life to The Royal Hippodrome Theatre with Jez Butterworth’s award winning play Jerusalem.

The action takes place on St Georges Day, the day of the village fair.

Central character Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron, played by Phil Poole, is a modern day Pied Piper, small-time drug dealer, party animal and teller of tall tales.

Intertwined with funny interactions with his band of “educationally subnormal outcasts and beloved spongers” the play reveals that Johnny faces eviction from his home, a caravan on the ege of a local wood, where he had been living for almost 30 years.

The council backed by police is determined to bring Johnny down but he remains defiant. With every nail hammered into his coffin Rooster retaliates with rebellious shows of strength. Johnny surrounds himself with his cohorts and continues the party but the reality of his plight hangs over him. Rooster is a monster of chaos, a pusher, an absent parent and a champion of anything anti-establishment but the audience cannot fail to connect with him. What’s clear is that he uses and is used by the kids who flock to him “like rats” particularly 15 year old Phaedra (Hannah Turner), last year’s May Queen, who has disappeared, leaving Rooster the prime suspect.

Jez Butterworth’s words fly off the page with an earthy anarchic honesty telling the traditional story of the individual struggle with authority and red tape. The storytelling is almost lyrical and takes us to a place somewhere between reality and folklore.

Nightly performances at 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinee on the 15th. Tickets are £14 Adults and £12 concessions - book on 01323 802020.