The Motherf**ker With The Hat: sex and drugs and protein drinks (2 stars)

The Motherf**ker With The Hat

credit: John Johnston

Misfiring drama tackles difficult subject matter with mixed results

Stephen Adly Guirgis's play focuses on neurotic ex-con Jackie (Francois Pandolfo) and his long-term girlfriend Veronica (Alexandria Riley), a woman struggling with substance abuse, and their attempts to leave behind a toxic lifestyle. But they seem like trapped animals, caught in an interminable cycle of codependency and abuse.

Unfortunately, Guirgis's profane, occasionally lyrical, script deals in paper-thin characters and has a particularly troubling approach to gender politics. The titular 'motherfucker', Ralph D (Jermaine Dominique) is a gold-plated hypocrite, coming off like a self-help guide with his health food, meditation and extolling the virtues of self-actualisation, acting as sponsor to "friend" Jackie, while sleeping with Veronica.

There's some fine acting from Dominique as the said swaggering macho man, and Kyle Lima is fun and full of pathos as eccentric Cousin Julio, but uneven accents and a discernible lack of conviction hamper the production's impact.

Kenny Miller's crumpled, split-level set is a perfect metaphor for such messy lives, but with underwritten female roles and clichéd dialogue, it's hard to have any kind of emotional engagement. A cynical play which only reinforces stereotypes, in spite of some affecting moments.

Tron Theatre Glasgow Thurs 1–Sat 17 Mar and Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, Wales Wed 21–Sat 31 Mar.

The Motherf**ker With The Hat

Stephen Adly Guirgis's profane and hilarious Tony award nominated tale of love and addiction in New York City, centred on a former drug dealer called Jackie, who is released from prison and attempts to get his life back in order.