Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
By Stephen Adly Guirgis, Director Andy Arnold, Designer Kenny Miller, Lighting Designer Simon Hayes, Sound Designer Sam Jones, Casting Director Kay Magson CDG
Cast : Francois Pandolfo Jackie, Alexandria Riley Veronica, Kyle Lima Cousin Julio, Jermaine Dominique Ralph, Renee Williams Victoria
Based in Manhattan, America and with a strong Portuguese/Cuban dialect, you are soon captivated by the comical attributes of these fine actors and actresses, portraying logistical humour from the above parts of the world and engulfing the audience into blurts of laughter throughout. This play and the way it was presented managed to still possess all the gory attributes that accompany life for Jackie being an ex-con and a recovering user. Jackie is on a mentoring and sponsor programme and his life partner is still an active user. His life is turbulent to say the least!
A wonderful job was done in creating three separate places/scenes, almost like three stages of life on one set by Designer Kenny Miller. Jackie was on the bottom trying to work his way up, elated by the news of a new job, he returns home early to his partner Veronica to celebrate his news, all seems well until the mother f**ker and the hat emerges, and he feels that he has lost everything.
“Leaving hats around like Zorro leaves Z’s” Hysterical!
He is then staying with his sponsor/mentor Ralph and his wife Victoria. This is when the truth really comes out! What does Jackie do, live and learn or act out? He is complexed he wants to be good person, but he is far from perfect as we find in many propelling scenes of violence, the seeking of hope and faith, the dark reality, and the rejoice or kind of. I particularly liked the scenes in the top tear with his cousin Julio. Julio told a story of their youth that kind of brought Jackie back down to earth. His cousin is someone who speaks from the heart in such a funny way and who is truly there for Jackie. When the lights went down on Veronica, I felt a tear, it was gripping.
Renee was the only one of the cast that I had seen perform previously and was impressed with how diverse her acting is. Overall everyone one of the cast really went for it and it was full of intensity from the off and throughout. After the show another theatre goer said that they wanted to know more about the fate of Veronica and Jackie’s relationship, but I was content with the ending. What will be will be, they seemed to both be at least trying to be more mature about things at that point, so who knows.
Hands up to all involved. Brilliant, current and thoroughly satisfying.