|*We were given tickets in exchange for review. All opions are 100% honest and my own. *Photo credit: John Johnston.|
Last night was the press performance of The Motherf**ker With the Hat at Sherman Theatre in the heart of Cardiff. I love how we can just walk to this theatre since moving to Cardiff, it’s such a special venue and it has so much to offer. Last night was no exception, with a huge turnout for this mighty play.
The Mother F**ker With the Hat is a 2015 play written by Stephen Adly Guirgis focusing on the relationship between recovering alcoholic Jackie and his girlfriend Veronica. With strong language, scenes of nudity and tonnes of character, I fell hook, line and sinker in love with this play.
Firstly, I must say that the stage was set with such thoughtful detail, with tiers for each scene. This not only looked visually appealing, but it also made the scene transition smooth and orderly. It’s always a lovely thing to experience, mostly because it means the story flows seamlessly and you can get right into the centre of what’s going on.
Having not read the play before, I wondered how Warren and I would take to seeing it performed for the first time. It was super easy to get into, with a magnificent cast of talented and well rehearsed performers.
I absolutely adore Alexandria Riley, having seen her in so many awesome performances such as How My Light Is Spent, The Cherry Orchard and Hang, so I loved seeing her perform in this witty play as Jackie’s girlfriend Veronica. Veronica is sassy and strong minded, with a few secrets and a penchant for booze and cocaine. Alexandria performed this role perfectly, taking centre stage from the off and delivering each line with passion. I loved Veronica’s character; her bold attitude but her vulnerable side slightly shining through as we see her interact with Jackie.
Jackie was performed by Francois Pandolfo, who created such a sense of anguish and anger during his performance. I could really relate to him for some reason, he felt so incredibly real and I loved both his passion and flaws…
There were some interesting scenes between Jackie and Veronica, their volatile and passionate relationship simmering away, boiling over and then completely drained by the end of the play. I loved the dialogue and how they interpreted their conversations, their interactions were incredibly real and raw at the same time.
The dialogue within this play is phenomenal. It’s witty, clever and so humorous at times, yet it picks up on some fatal flaws of human nature and the abuse we deal to ourselves and others. I love the seriousness of the topic, abuse in terms of alcohol, drugs, sex as well as psychological and physical abuse. It’s important for these things to be talked about, but within this context of humour and quick-thinking dialogue it makes it extremely accessible to the general public.
Kyle Lima performs as Julio, Jackie’s incredibly tall and unbelievably funny cousin. Kyle was amazing and had the audience laughing several times over. His performance of Julio felt so well rehearsed, with each line delivered perfectly. His timing was spot on, as was his accent and mannerisms and he was the kind of character you just want to see more of because he’s so entertaining. I really hope I get to see more of Kyle Lima in the future because his performance was impeccable.
The last of the cast includes Renee Williams as Victoria and her husband Ralph who is performed by Jermaine Dominique. Ralph is Jackie’s sponsor and at the same time he is having an affair with Veronica, Victoria knows all about his infidelities and plans to leave him, but it never happens. Their dynamic was interesting because it was both bitter and very sad; the love for each other had been trampled on thanks to Ralph’s infidelities, but I interpreted his affairs to be a reaction to his self control with regards to his alcohol addiction.
Ralph was performed with a lot of energy from Jermaine, and I loved how his personality flickered from arrogant to sycophantic, hostile to sickly sweet, depending on who he was interacting with. Renee offered a sweet character in the form of Victoria. She was angry, yes, but so fragile and I really felt for her as her world slowly crumbled around her.
After the show I managed to have a little chat with Alexandria and Renee and they were both very sweet indeed. I get so nervous talking to famous folk, but they were really sweet! Sorry if I looked absolutely crazy though guys, I get a little nervous and it comes across as a bit manic and flustered, haha!
Before I wrap this up, I wanted to tell you a little story about a tweet a few weeks ago. I remember the second I saw Sherman share the news of this play and the fantastic cast involved. I tweeted something along the lines of, ‘One of my faves!’ to which the very talented Alexandria Riley replied something like, ‘I hope we do it justice for you!’. At this point, I panicked. I was referring to one of my favourite performers (Alexandria), but instead of saying this, I actually replied with a confirmation tweet that yes, in fact, this play was one of my favourites. At the same time I panic bought a copy from Amazon and waited for it to arrive. It did arrive, and it has been sat on my bookshelf all this time. I didn’t pick it up to attempt to read it, mostly because I’m so mega busy, so I didn’t really know what the play was all about. Anyway, after seeing this truly thought-provoking story, I can safely say it is one of my faves after all…
The Mother F**ker With the Hat is dark, haunting and hilarious. It offers up a bunch of dysfunctional folk and makes you question your own relationships, your own addictions and your own impact on those around you.
Go see The Motherf**ker With the Hat at Sherman, it’s running until 30th March and tickets start from £16.