THEATRE REVIEW: The Motherf**ker with the Hat

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Lytellton Theatre, National Theatre

WHEN: 9/7 and 1/8, runs to 20/8

There are only a dozen or so performances of this unexpected gem left and, as we’ve seen it twice already, we’d urge you not to miss out.

A New York-set comedy about addiction, it was written in 2011 by Stephen Adly Guirgis and earned six Tony nominations on its Broadway run. It’s very different from what we’d expect from the National and, if anything, reminded us of Asif Kapadia’s blockbusting documentary Amy because both reference the self-sabotaging behaviour of addicts.

If it doesn’t sound very funny so far, we can assure you it is. We meet Jackie (Desperate Housewives‘ Ricardo Chavira) who’s out of jail, staying clean thanks to his sponsor (a delightfully despicable Alec Newman), has a job and is about to make love to his girlfriend (a fantastically fiery Flor De Liz Perez) until he sees something he shouldn’t.

Transferring from the Broadway production is the Tony-nominated Yul Vázquez as cousin Julio who does a great deal with a supporting role, making us not only laugh with him but giving some focus to the selfish behaviour going on all around him and supplying the piece with some much-needed heart. It’s this Puerto Rican moral code which eventually earths much of Motherf**ker, making the laughs come much easier.

A striking and beautiful set design and the terrific ensemble cast are just two reasons not to miss this laugh-out-loud comedy.

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