Directed by Joe Jahraus
Produced by Profiles Theatre
At the Main Stage, Chicago
Violent, gritty drama puts new twist on brotherly love
In keeping with their tradition of producing “in-your-face, gritty Chicago-style theatre,” Profiles Theatre has mounted the Midwest premiere of Rhett Rossi’s In God’s Hat. This is a 90 minute, heart-stopping drama filled with dark humor, reflections on family values, as well as unique perspectives on God and the Bible. We experience the extremes of humanity played out by a group of low-life fringe folks in a fleabag grungy motel somehow in rural New York State.
Roy (Darrell W. Cox) travels 1500 miles to pick up his estranged brother Mitch (Larry Neumann, Jr.) as he got release from 10 years in prison for child molestation. Since, blood is thicker than water, Roy feels somehow a need to have Mitch back in his life despite not communicating with him for more than 10 years. The two siblings have a nefarious history that gradually emerges as the two stop at a grungy motel on their way to Oklahoma.
We learn about how the two were raised by their dysfunctional parents and how each was effected by the strains of a evil parent. Was Mitch affected by his childhood that eventually led him to rape young boys? Why did Roy feel obligated to help Mitch?
We see Mitch’s scars from abuse he suffered in prison as a psycho named Arthur (John Victor Allen), a scary tattooed white supremacist dude whose hate is topped by child molesters. A chance encounter between Roy and Arthur at the motel fuels the violence that is both scary and surreal.
Without revealing more, let me say that this intense drama will leave you on the edge of your seat through with splashes of blood and beer popping as the dysfunctional committed characters as they exude darkly comic reactions to their past and present situations. Old secrets are revealed and new ones emerge to be kept.
Darrel W. Cox is terrific as the stoic cowboy type whose strange desires to help his weirdly pathetic brother played with great vulnerability by Larry Neumann, Jr. John Victor Allen, complete with head and face tats, plays the psycho Arthur with menacing aplomb. Bruce Cronander is the charismatic supremacist who commands power by his presence.
The writing is strong ; the action is surprisingly both funny and violent; the ensemble acting first -rate. For those theatre patrons who crave gritty theatre, In God’s Hat will be a hard-edged treat. This production reaches into your psyche as only the live stage can. Leave the kids at home but do witness this worthy show.
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For more info checkout the In God’s Hat page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Profile Theatre’s Main Stage, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL, call 773-549-1815, tickets $35 – $40, Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8 pm, Sundays at 7 pm, running time is 90 minutes without intermission, through October 13, 2013