Skip to main content

The Motherf***** with the Hat


Tron Theatre, Glasgow
Four stars

Ex-con Jackie says it with flowers when he’s reunited with his addict girlfriend Veronica at the start of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ bleakly funny 2011 play. That’s about as sweet as it gets, however, in Andy Arnold’s new production of a piece seen here for the first time in the UK outside London. When Jackie spies a stranger’s hat amongst the debris of Veronica’s apartment, any hopes of a loving reunion are turned upside down as he lets off steam, first to his seemingly squeaky-clean AA sponsor Ralph D and his wife Victoria, then to Cousin Julio, who gives him some healthy if funny-tasting food for thought.

What follows over the next 100 minutes of this co-production between the Tron and the Cardiff-based Sherman Theatre is a series of potty-mouthed rapid-fire exchanges, with Jackie falling off the wagon en route to discovering some painful home-truths. This makes for a series of street-smart verbal riffs soaked in downbeat New York gallows humour which Arnold’s cast of five go at with a ferocity that makes you feel like you’re eavesdropping on a series of increasingly explosive domestic spats.

As Jackie, Francois Pandolfo is both wiry and wired, a taut bundle of nerves ready to pounce on the twisted logic of Jermaine Dominique’s Ralph D. If both female characters are collateral damage in a man’s world, both Alexandria Riley as Veronica and Renee Williams as Victoria lend them a sense of brittle vulnerability. It’s left to Kyle Lima as Cousin Julio to provide light relief and deadpan wisdom. With Kenny Miller’s multi-layered set bathed in purple neon, as Jackie climbs each tier, things may get increasingly messy down below, but it’s as if he’s ascending to increasingly higher moral ground.

The Herald, March 9th 2018

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…