The Motherf**ker with the Hat | Black Swan State Theatre CompanyLeft – Austin Castiglione. Cover – Rhoda Lopez and Austin Castiglione. Photos – Gary Marsh

This high octane sit-com-action-drama-tragedy-comedy took the audience by the neck and shook it as a terrier would a rat.

Not such a far-fetched analogy seeing we were transported into the seamy depths of the Puerto Rican community around Hell’s Kitchen and Washington Heights; the non touristic side of New York.

Characterisation is the key to this work and the actors stepped up to the mark with relish. We meet Jackie (Austin Castiglione), the main protagonist, not long out of jail and reunited with his coke-addicted girlfriend, Veronica (Rhoda Lopez), his AA sponsor, Ralph D (Kenneth Ransom), Ralph’s wife Victoria (Alison Van Reeken) and gym-junkie cousin of Jackie, Julio (Faysall Bazzi), in an extraordinarily swift series of encounters.

Here mention must be made of Bryan Woltjans beautifully constructed set on a faultless revolve which transported the audience from one untidy flat to another apartment to a rooftop garden.

The plot revolves around issues of trust and fidelity between the couples and friendships/loyalty between the male protagonists. When Jackie finds a man’s hat in his lovers apartment his jelousy spirals out of control and mayhem ensues. It gets very complicated but it’s never dull!

Once the audience became accustomed to the accent, patois and speed of the verbal exchange (reasonably authentic Puerto Rican) they responded with enthusiasm.

The eccentric characters made delightful and engaging theatre. I felt the particularly well-written parts were for quirky characters Ralph D, Veronica and Julio. These actors (Ransom, Lopez and Bazzi) rose to their parts with verve and panache at times almost overshadowing the central figure of Jackie (Castiglione) who put in a huge effort as the central character.

It was an excellent debut to an eagerly awaited 2nd Perth Fringe Festival. Much more of which exciting news and reviews are to come!

Black Swan State Theatre Company presents
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
by Stephen Adly Guirgis  

Director Adam Mitchell

Venue: Studio Underground The State Theatre Centre of WA
Dates: 17 January – 3 February 2013
Tickets: $40
Bookings: BOCS 92842112 | |

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