Local theatre company Lost in Translation donned the hilariously vulgar Tony Award-nominated New York script for their production of The Motherf**ker with the Hat, which has its strengths but falls flat.
Motherf**ker’s story follows the daily trials of what we in the Australian lexicon would call ‘battlers’. These folks are stuck in New York City’s brutal daily grind. They’re recovering (or continuing) addicts, ex-cons and jilted lovers just trying to get by and pay the rent in an increasingly farcical and betrayal-laden scenario. Motherf**ker is like a cross between The Wire and Friends, with all the cheeky shenanigans and nonchalant crime that that would suggest.
The cast is led by Nick Fagan (also co-directing) playing Jackie, who, after a brief introduction of good news, spends the show hunting the titular hatted man, whom he presumes has been sleeping with his coke-addled firecracker of a girlfriend, Veronica (Rosie Williams). His friend Ralph D. (Patrick Gibson) and cousin Julio (David Salter) are along for the ride, counselling him alternately to let go or go get the motherfucker.
It’s a fun story, but perhaps the script is too particular for this cast. While the script is laden with curses, its characters’ motivations run deeper than profanity and there is a certain amount of finesse required in their portrayal to help the audience relate to them, instead of simply hating everyone on stage. In that, their character flaws come across too pronounced for the audience to really care what happens to them, and they feel a tad one-dimensional. Their lines are also lost at times, in part due to actors occasionally blocking themselves and casting their dialogue upstage in the cavernous venue that is Adelaide Oval’s William Magarey Room.
There are high points, including a well-choreographed fight scene that reminds the audience of the sometimes brutal consequences that flow from a potent mix of jealousy and infidelity, and the snappy, filthy script is a pleasure to follow. Lana Adamusek’s portrayal of Ralph’s beleaguered wife Victoria is the strongest of the cast, as the script gives her plenty for room for comedy and pathos.
The Motherf**ker with the Hat was performed on March 10 and 11 2017 at the William Magarey Room at Adelaide Oval’s LIVE on 5.