Butterworth Follows Mojo with Heron at Court, 17 AprDate: 26 February 2002
After seven years, playwright Jez Butterworth (pictured) will follow his multi award-winning Mojo with a new play called The Night Heron, which will also receive its world premiere at London's Royal Court Theatre. Directed by Court artistic director Ian Rickson and starring Ray Winstone, The Night Heron will open at the Royal Court's Jerwood Theatre Downstairs on 17 April 2002 (previews from 11 April) and will continue to 11 May.
The sighting of a rare bird attracts the world's attention to a remote part of the Fens. The visiting birdwatchers cannot know what dangers lie in the freezing darkness of the marshes. In an isolated cabin, Wattmore, bruised and bleeding, is recording the Old Testament onto cassette. Griffin arrives with fish and chips. Salvation is at hand - a cash prize for winning the university poetry competition and a possible lodger. Meanwhile, outside the town is stirring.
The Night Heron is Butterworth's second play for the Royal Court, commissioned following Mojo, his first play, in 1995. For Mojo, Butterworth won the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Writers' Guild New Writer of the Year Award, the Evening Standard Award for the Most Promising Playwright and the Olivier Award for Best Comedy.
Since his remarkable stage debut, Butterworth has been committed to various film projects including a screen version of Mojo and his latest film, Birthday Girl (released this year), starring Ben Chaplin and Nicole Kidman, which he wrote and directed.
Ray Winstone's last London stage appearance was in Sam Mendes' Donmar production of To the Green Fields Beyond in 2000. His other stage credits have included Dealer's Choice at the National, and at the Royal Court, This Is a Chair, Some Voices and Pale Horse. As a young man, Winstone was a successful amateur boxer until he found early acting success in films such as Scum and Quadrophenia. His more recent films have included Last Orders, Love, Honour and Obey, Nil By Mouth and The War Zone.
Winstone is joined in the cast by Jessica Stevenson (from TV's Spaced and The Royle Family), Roger Morlidge and Paul Ritter. The Night Heron is designed by Ultz, with lighting by Mick Hughes and music by Stephen Warbeck.
- by Terri Paddock