Thank GOD, none of these people have children;
because, they would be f**ked for life.
~ Cousin Julio giving his opinion
The moment I read the title, I knew I had to see this play. You must admit, it does grab your attention especially the double asterisks, because it means it’s going to be good and juicy. And this show doesn’t disappoint. Directed by renowned, veteran actress Gloria Gifford, who also runs the Gloria Gifford Conservatory in Hollywood, takes Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis play and executes a perfectly timed hysterical work that is also thought-provoking and heartfelt.
The show runs at a rapid pace with equally sharp dialogue. Hot and heavy couple Jackie and Veronica (the talented Danny Siegel and vivacious Joey Marie Urbina) are going at it. Jackie recently got released, after serving two years in prison, and tries to step back into life as a free man. One night after their marathon sessions of lovemaking, Jackie eyes a hat that he doesn’t recognize. It’s not his or Veronica’s. This is proof that she’s been cheating, he believes. Plus, Jackie noticed that their bed smells like, “Aqua Velva and dick.” He confronts her, bad move, and they get into a head-on collision argument.
Jackie storms out and heads to his sponsor Ralph D. (Keith Walker is a borderline crack-up) who tries to calm his friend down. Jackie processes the positive reinforcement from Ralph D. The duo decides to visit Jackie’s cousin Julio, Christian Maltez provides extra comic relief with his swift-thinking dialogue. His quick one-liner, “You’ve been Van Dammed!” should be this year’s latest catch-phrase. Jackie goes over to hide a gun that belonged to notorious gang member Chucho Alvardo. From there, more hysterical mayhem ensues leading to a perfect and uproariously, climatic ending.
Playwright Guirgis is a talented writer whose gift is seeking beyond the surface and reach that raw nerve that people try to avoid. The New York native demonstrates the same care to his other hit shows, including Our Lady of 121st Street and In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings. No character can truly escape from his demons. Veronica is a promiscuous cokehead, Victoria needs to feel and be loved, Ralph D. is lost in what he wants, and Jackie wants to be free from his self-imposed madness. All Julio wants is to “Van Damme” someone. It’s obvious that Guirgis loves his characters and doesn’t want to see anyone get physically or emotionally hurt. All he can do is to blame that mother-f**ker with the hat!
Mother-F**ker with the Hat ends Sunday, September 30th at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. playing at The Gloria Gifford Conservatory, located at 6502 Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood. For ticket reservation, call 310-366-5505 or log on to www.gloriagiffordconservatory.com.