Sunday, July 18, 2010

Theater Review - In God's Hat

Apothecary Theatre Company, NYC
Written by Richard Taylor
Directed by Kevin Kittle

In God’s Hat begins when two brothers meet up outside of Arbor Correctional Facility, having not seen each other for decades. Roy (Tom Pelphrey) is a macho redneck type, full of sarcastic humor, bravado and spit. Mitch (Rhett Rossi) is a mild-mannered intellectual who was recently incarcerated for pedophilia. Conflict rages from the get-go as the two of them head back to their hometown just to end up at the only refuge available: an isolated fleabag motel. When Mitch’s former cellmate, Arthur Cruter (Dennis Flanagan), pays them a not-so-friendly visit, things heat up!

Playwright Richard Taylor triumphs with a mix of character study, dialogue that alternates from humor to pathos and suspenseful scenes reminiscent of Hitchcock. Michael Reese's set design perfectly captures that of a rundown motel room in the middle of nowhere. You feel grimy just looking at it.

Daytime Emmy winner Tom Pelphrey (from Guiding Light and As the World Turns) is truly a powerhouse in this show. The character of Roy is an utter pig most of the time...and yet through Pelphrey’s humor and charisma, he wins the audience over completely. Rhett Rossi holds his own against Pelphrey, infusing Mitch with self-loathing, sensitivity and pathos, reminding me of a young Tony Perkins. Dennis Flanagan, Gary Francis Hope and Mike Mihm all gave strong detailed performances in their supporting roles.

With its insightful direction, detailed sets, superb acting and clever script, this is one of the best new plays I’ve seen in a long time.

Be warned, adult situations, profanity and violence are all over this show. Not a play to take kids to...but with that being said... not walk…to see In God's Hat!!!

For more information, go to the Apothecary Theatre website.

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