Lost In Translation. Live at 5, William Margery Room, Adelaide Oval. 10 Mar 2017
Lost in Translation is Nick Fagan's vehicle for getting himself on stage. Judging by the company's first three productions including this one, Fagan has a knack for finding new high quality American plays never seen before in South Australia that involve hardboiled persons on the lower rung of the ladder of opportunity struggling with making sense of life - including their crimes and misdemeanours - with a whiff of violence or a bit of biff. The Motherf**ker With The Hat is a terribly amusing modern day farce penned by Stephen Adly Guirgis, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2015.
This is my new best show of the Fringe. Jackie returns from prison in upstate New York to the bed of Veronica, his sweetheart since Grade 8. But Jackie suspects that the motherf**cker with the hat beat him to it. He seeks anger management counselling from his parole officer, who, while he has drawn a line under his druggie past, has the moral compass of Tiger Woods. The dialogue is snappy-fast, funny and ironic, and full of New York - with more ** than stars in the sky.
Co-directors Matt Houston and Fagan have assembled a terrific cast that has crafted characters of recognised type yet are highly individualised. Fagan's Jackie is anxiously restless, struggling to break free from recidivism, yet is sweetly honest in his relationships. His angst is contrasted with Patrick Gibson's calm new age smugness as the counsellor, Ralph, and between them we see the play deepen from farce into a duel on moral relativism.
Rosie Williams is wonderful as Veronica - drug-addled and shrill but clear thinking enough to know what she wants. Ralph's wife sees the writing on the wall and her situation is very effectively and warmly channelled by Lana Adamuszek. Jackie seeks help from cousin Julio - David Salter's faux-Mexican makes this role a risible standout.
The Motherf**ker With The Hat is a ripper black comedy with a life-coaching bent. You might learn something while you're laughing. Bravo!
P.S. It's on for only one more night - Saturday March 11 - and I would not miss it!
When: 10 to 11 Mar
Where: Live at 5, William Margery Room, Adelaide Oval