It’s easy to see why this show won awards at the Australian Fringe festivals. With the audience laughing, crying and gasping in all the right spots Fag/Stag is a beautiful account of misunderstandings between friends and stark realisations when things turn out differently.
Set in Perth, Australia with a minute gay scene, gay man Jimmy and straight man Corgan battle conflicting emotions of love, depression and honesty. Tinder and Grindr are rife in their lives as is Donkey Kong and trying to fit in.
Despite sounding macabre the play is actually really funny. Sure, there are dark moments dealing with sensitive themes but endless comedy gems are peppered throughout. They’re welcome reliefs for the audience as it’s quite intense at times. Fag/Stag is written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs (Jimmy and Corgan, respectively). The writing is quick-witted and modern with the actors’ timing and delivery impeccable. You’d expect it to be highly polished though as the duo have been performing Fag/Stag for years around Australia.
Jimmy and Corgan sit on individual stools addressing the audience with their inner monologues. It’s within the back and forth descriptions of one situation from two perspectives that the jokes really kick in. The fast-paced interjections add to the humour when one thinks it’s a good idea to go clubbing post-breakup and the other cannot think of anything worse. There are numerous instances too that earn self-appreciative chuckles from the audience and the drunken recounts are embarrassingly familiar.
Addressing the audience in a story-telling fashion is extremely intimate. At times the intimacy is uncomfortable, particularly if one of the actors is looking you in the eyes while describing his wank into a tissue emblazoned with a girl’s number. However it adds to the charm and raw emotion of the characters as the audience become more involved in their lives.
The minimal lighting and sound effects are great during poignant moments, but means there is no way to cover potential ruckus from the next door stage which can be disruptive. Still, that says more about the venue than the play.
Fag/Stag is a cracking good show though and one that will leave the audience thinking about long into the evening.