Ego Reigns At The Motherf**ker With The Hat

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 107 months ago

Last Updated 19 June 2015

Ego Reigns At The Motherf**ker With The Hat ★★★★☆ 4

Jackie (Ricardo Chavira) and Victoria (Nathalie Armin) in The Motherf**ker with the Hat. Photo: Tristram Kenton

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

Brash, expletive-ridden and unapologetic, The Motherf**ker with the Hat is a rough tumble through the dirty laundry of human weakness, dysfunctional relationships and callous self-preservation. It’s a kick up the arse — in the best possible way — for the National Theatre and proves a surprisingly cathartic hour and 45 minutes.

We’re in New York and Jackie (Ricardo Chavira) is off the sauce, out of prison and returning home to his impassioned, cocaine-snorting girlfriend Veronica (Flor De Liz Perez). She’s missed him, GOD he’s missed her. But wait… where the FUCK did that hat come from? It’s not Jackie’s. The bed smells pretty funky too. He doesn’t know who it belongs to yet, but Jackie is going to kill that motherfucker with the hat.

Luckily Jackie’s sponsor Ralph, played by Alec Newman, is on hand to provide some sage advice. After all, he’s been sober as a judge for 15 years and now relies only on health smoothies to get him through the day. But herein lies the beauty of the show; it is not: bad guy gets mad and shouts a lot, while good guy eventually shows him the error of his ways through solid advice and sound reasoning. It’s very, very far from that.

The Motherf**ker with the Hat is instead about how inherently self-destructive mankind can be. And not simply at the powerful hands of narcotics and booze, but at the crusty feet of their own egotism, self-interest and weakness. And with no doubt much of the audience (quietly) self identifying with the content (take that, ego!), the results are pretty bloody. They're also pretty hilarious. They're definitely pretty bloody hilarious. Chaotic arguments, flawed reasoning and utter obliviousness reign as anger, love and pure pigheadedness quash any glimmers of sensibility. Hey, we’ve all been there, right?

With just five characters and three sets, it is a testament to the five distinctly excellent performers that intensity and focus is maintained throughout. Humour is a constant companion, but peaks with an entirely delightful performance by Yul Vazquez as Jackie’s cousin Julio, while Ralph’s wife Victoria (Nathalie Armin) commands possibly the most tragic scene of the show.

The Motherf**ker with the Hat is on at National Theatre’s Lyttleton Theatre until 20 August. Tickets cost £15-£55 and can be booked online. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket.