Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich NR3 4BB               Box office: 01603 626414                   Sewell Barn Trust: Registered Charity No 277724

The Sewell Barn Company

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by Jez Butterworth

Director: Nick Meir

Contact details - 07834 349615

Dates of performances. : 21 – 23 and 27 – 30 November (including a matinee on 30 November) 2019



This is a  slick, violent black comedy set in the Soho clubland of the1950s. The play is set in Ezra's Atlantic Club in Soho during the summer of 1958. Silver Johnny, Ezra's seventeen-year-old rock 'n' roll protégé, is causing a sensation at the club. Two petty crooks, Sweets and Potts, high on amphetamines, introduce us to this criminal milieu. They are joined by two others, Skinny and Baby. Baby enjoys tormenting, even torturing, Skinny. While the youngsters mess about, a local gangster, Sam Ross, kills Ezra, and takes Silver Johnny. Terrified, the gang, now led by Mickey (Ezra's number two) barricade themselves in the club and prepare for an attack. Although he is Ezra's son and heir, Baby realises that Mickey is now in charge and suggests they run the club together, but Mickey rejects him. In the power struggle that ensues, Baby demonstrates that he's more than a match for Mickey – and nobody escapes unscathed.



BABY: Male  - 20s

Baby is the son of local gangster and Soho club owner, Ezra. He has never been allowed to have a say in the running of the club, and does not seem to have any idea of how the business works. Baby spends most of his time propping the bar up and popping pills. He feels no affinity to the mob of gangsters surrounding Ezra and has no interest in joining them. Baby’s upbringing has been questionable and it has left him mentally unstable. He has been sexually and physically abused by his father, and lived in fear of being killed as a child.

SWEETS: Male 20s - Sweets works for Ezra, a Soho club owner and local gangster. He is permanently popping pills and high on drugs. He got his nickname for the being known as the pill, or ‘sweets’ dispenser. Sweets works closely with his colleague, Potts, and the two men form a kind of double act. Sweets is the calmer and gentler of the two men, often trying to keep the peace among the gang. He is not particularly bright and his simple honesty occasionally annoys Potts.

POTTS: Male 20s -Potts works for Ezra, a Soho club owner and local gangster. He begrudgingly runs Ezra’s jukebox hire business, but he has aspirations of one day making it into the true inner circle of the local gang ring. He is proud that he discovered Silver Johnny, the latest club sensation.  He is determined that Ezra will remember that and reward Potts accordingly. Potts works opposite Sweets and the two men form a kind of double act. 

SKINNY: Male 20s -Skinny is the tea boy / dogsbody at Ezra’s club in Soho, London. He is the newest to the team and does whatever job he is given. Skinny is fairly naïve about the dark, gangster world he has found himself in, but he tries to fit in and get the others to like him. He admires Ezra’s son, Baby, and tries to imitate his style and manner. However, this gets him in trouble with Baby, who is mentally unstable and often turns on Skinny.

MICKEY:  Male late 20s to mid 30s -  Mickey is the second in command for Ezra, a local gangster and Soho club owner.  Mickey’s calm, authoritative demeanour commands the trust of Skinny, Sweets, and Potts, even when they question his motives. Mickey becomes a kind of surrogate father figure to both Skinny and Baby but, ultimately, he underestimates Baby’s abilities and how far Baby’s psychotic tendencies will push him.

 SILVER JOHNNY:  Male  late teens -  Silver Johnny is the latest hit on the club scene. He is 17, with killer dance moves and a good rock n roll voice (although he is never heard singing). Johnny is the prized performer of club owner and gangster, Ezra. Towards the end of the play, Silver Johnny is hung upside down for 15 – 20 minutes.


Rehearsals start w/c September 16, 3 nights per week, moving to 4 nights in the run up to performance. Rehearsals will take place at Creative Space in Norwich before moving to the Barn. The nature of the play requires a level of timing, energy, and interaction which will only be successfully achieved through quality rehearsal time. The first phase of the rehearsal period will be carefully structured so actors will not be sitting around when called for rehearsal. We will work together to work out a schedule which works for everyone.


Auditions take place from 1400-1700 on Sunday June 16th at Creative Space

3 St Benedicts View, Grapes Hill, Norwich, NR2 4HH

Actors will be required to have read the play: Nick Hern: ISBN 978-1-84842-363-3

Please contact the director in advance if you wish to audition as script extracts will be given in advance.

Final casting: w/c 24th June