THE Garrick’s latest production is Jez Butterworth’s controversial Jerusalem, a dark, adult comedy.

The Garrick is brave to put on such a controversial play which is like a breath of fresh air.

The central figure, Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron is played uninhibitedly by Scott Ransome. He’s a wastrel and modern day Pied Piper, an alcoholic, drug dealing teller of tales.

Rooster is threatened with eviction from his Gypsy-style caravan and curses Kennet and Avon Council.

It’s the annual St George’s Day Flintlock Fair and his 10-year-old son (Sebastian Ross) wants his father to take him but, in his usual antagonistic fashion, he refuses to do so.

Scott, an utterly believable tough cookie, looks down on Wesley, the publican (Matthew Banwell), who has to wear morris dance gear in order to re-enact an old custom.

Rooster almost becomes a folk hero since eccentric losers and kids who he rescues from unpleasant fates, adore him.

Scott’s performance is one of the most powerful, emotional acting displays I’ve seen in a long time.

Then there is the sadistic stepfather of Phaedra (Zoe Cummins-White), the May Queen. He is played outstandingly by David Lemberg.

Ginger, an old friend, who mixes in the same motley circle and sticks by Rooster is another great character.

It’s hard to believe that this ruffian is the same Mark Butt who was Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Well done, Mark.

They all contribute to a host of colourful village characters but the most colourful has to be Rooster.

The set is designed by Trevor McKie and John Cunningham who also imaginatively directs the play. It illustrates Rooster’s caravan home, and the scattered scruffy furniture outside in Rooster’s wood.

Not for the faint-hearted.

* Jerusalem is at Altrincham Garrick Playhouse until March 24. For tickets, telephone 0161 928 1677 option1.

Star rating: *****.