Fag/Stag ****

 

THEATRE

UNDERBELLY COWGATE     (V61) 

AUGUST 3rd to 27th (not 14th)

  16.00

This is an extremely clever and sharp-witted two-hander from a pair of guys from Perth, Australia. Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs co-wrote the script and appear on two stools giving us the different accounts by characters Jimmy and Corgan of events leading up to a marriage. Tamara is getting married to Jack, whom neither of these guys like. Jimmy is gay, but went out with Tamara for a week as a teenager who had not yet embraced his sexuality. Corgan went out with her for four years and the feelings are still there. Jimmy and Corgan are best buddies

We have the delightful experience of hearing the same events described from two viewpoints,  with different emphases and omissions – sometimes big omissions on the part of Jimmy. Each character experiences testing times and needs the support of the other. Each has big disagreements with the other, but you know that the connection is too deep for a complete break.

Homophobic abuse still occurs in this story of life in Australia today,  and we see a refusal to accept his sexuality on the part of one off stage character, Not everything changes. The difficulty at times of integrating into a straight group as a gay man is very wittily conveyed. A day out with the boys can be something very different depending on what sort of boy you are.

These are two guys who, despite being into their advanced twenties, still have a good deal of self-sorting to do. Jimmy has broken with his boyfriend, and this prompts some of the funniest moments at the same time as being a continuing question mark. There is a dark side to the story, as both guys, but Corgan especially,  have significant problems, but there is also much brilliant humour as well as an involvement in the warm humanity of these two guys.

Catch this one for a perceptive, bracing and deeply funny show.

 

Tony Challis