THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT (SOUTH COAST REP): 94% – SWEET

Larry Bates and Tony Sancho in “The Motherfucker with the Hat” at South Coast Repertory. Credit: Ben Horak.

SWEET
If it’s possible to write a play about addiction and attempted recovery that’s both darkly earnest and ruthlessly funny, then Stephen Adly Guirgis has done exactly that. His incisive 2011 Broadway hit “The Motherfucker With the Hat,” about drugs and drinking, love and infidelity, pulls no punches in depicting characters who are messed up of their own volition. The result generates humor born of dead-on candor.
Eric Marchese – Backstage

SWEET
At South Coast Repertory, director Michael John Garcés and his gifted cast bring Guirgis’ thinly sketched but visceral story to bawdy, bloody life. His tale of warring lovers is a bumpy, obscene and exhilarating ride through a hardscrabble place most of SCR’s patrons seldom see.
Paul Hodgins – OC Register

BITTERSWEET
Despite concerns with the production, The Motherfucker with the Hat is not a wasted experience. The play is magnificent and Christian Barillas’ performance is a triumph.
Samuel Bernstein – Stage and Cinema

SWEET
Much of the originality of this dark comedy lies in its relentless verbal attack, the springy way the vulgarity is slung. Director Michael John Garcés, however, is drawn more to the story than the slang in his solid if occasionally sluggish SCR production. He approaches the drama with deliberate realism, casting actors who make up in grit what they lack in theatrical glamour.
Charles McNulty – LA Times

SWEET
Guirgis convincingly demonstrates that this truism is moving as well as funny, and he receives the support of a strong cast guided by Cornerstone Theater artistic director Michael John Garcés, working on Nephelie Andonyadis’ revolving set.
Don Shirley – LA Stage Times

SWEET
The production is as funny and tender as it is serious and violent.
James Scarborough – Huffington Post

BITTERSWEET
The rest of the cast is marvelous, and Nephelie Andonyadis’s spinning, swirling set picks up on the chaos at work among the actors. But there’s no way a whiny, petulant, unprepossessing Jackie can break our hearts, and Sancho does not do so, not for a moment. As a result this Motherfucker delights but never awes.
Bob Verini – Variety

SWEET
The play’s blatantly comedic elements effectively set up the visceral dramatic sequences in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ richly raucous and ribald romp on SCR’s Julianne Argyros Stage under the relentless direction of Michael John Garces.
Tom Titus – Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot

SWEET
South Coast Repertory is to be saluted for taking chances on the play which dare not speak (or print) its name. (This is the OC after all.) Then again, daring program choices and thrillingly executed productions are the stock in trade of Orange County’s premier regional theater, quite possibly the finest of the Southern California bunch.
Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA

SWEET
Each of the five characters is far more complex and layered than originally presented, and director Michael John Garces skillfully guides the production through its flurry of salacious language, elevating it to a compelling examination of how to grow up in a world in which it’s all too easy to stay trapped in a cycle of dependency and sabotage.
Joel Beers – OC Weekly

SWEET
Michael John Gares’ direction is as sharp and full of surprises as Guirgis’ dialogue.
Jordan Young – LA Examiner

SWEET
This Southern California staging of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play boasts superb acting, keen pacing, effective design and even credible fight scenes.
Myron Meisel – The Hollywood Reporter

SWEET
With state-of-the-art scenic design technology by Nephelie Andonyandis, original music and sound work by Bruno Louchouarn, and craftily appropriate costuming by Leah Piehl, The Motherf..ker with the Hat offers us a slice-of-life portrait from the far-side of the city. It’s not for everyone, but many will appreciate its unvarnished view of values, while all ought to admire the stagecraft on display.
Ben Miles – Showmag

SWEET
Guirgis is a writer with muscle, great comic sensibility, and a heart that wants to present people in both an honest and humorous light. This is a fine mounting of the play.
Cristofer Gross – TheaterTimes

SWEET
The revolving set, designed by Nephelie Andonyadis, allows the action to flow seamlessly from one modest living space to another, for close to two hours of uninterrupted hilarity. You can wash out your ears with soap when you get back home….
Ingrid Wilmot – Will Call

THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT
Presented by and at South Coast Repertory
655 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa
Jan. 11–27, 2013
7:45 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:45 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $20-$70; (714) 708-5555
Running time: 2 hours (no intermission)

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