Adelaide Fringe 2017 Theatre Review: The Motherf**ker with The Hat

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What: The Motherf**ker with The Hat

Where: William Magarey Room at LIVE on 5, Adelaide Oval

Local production company Lost in Translation presented theatrical hit A Steady Rain at last year’s Adelaide Fringe. Unfortunately, their success was not repeated with this year’s offering, The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Based on the play by Stephen Adly Guirgis, the crux of the story involves former inmate Jackie’s hunt for his partner Veronica’s lover after discovering his hat in her bedroom. This sets off a series of explosive events that culminates in a violent showdown between former friends. Essentially, the play is an exploration of addiction in its many forms, fidelity, the inability of to re-integrate into society after prison, and arrested development. To their credit, Nick Fagan and his fellow cast mates represent these powerful themes adequately.

This production sees Adelaide actors take on the roles originally played by American actors of Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Italian ethnicity on Broadway. From the get-go, it was difficult to take the play and its weighty themes seriously due to the the actors’ inability to pull off the New York accents. This shortcoming, coupled with the play’s speedy dialogue, resulted in a couple of line mishaps with Patrick Gibson (Ralph) and Rosie Williams (Veronica) fumbling their sentences on a number of occasions. David Salter (Julio) was the clear standout with his portrayal as Jackie’s gay cousin; other actors with less skill would have reduced this role to a one-dimensional stereotype.

The staging was satisfactory with the cast transitioning from one scene to the next with ease. However, the lighting could have been better. The over brightness of the lights merely highlighted the cast’s flaws. During the pivotal fight scene between Jackie and Ralph, it was glaringly obvious that their fist fight was nothing more than a little push and shove.

Lost in Translation prides itself for staging “gritty” and “edgy” acclaimed plays we would not be able to see unless we were living overseas. Perhaps in the future, however, Nick Fagin and his emerging company could select a “gritty” play with less usage of the lines “faggot ass” and “whore”, and that doesn’t present women as disposable, overreactive objects. I look forward to seeing what they adapt next from the Great White Way.

2 stars out of 5

Masya Zabidi

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