FAG/STAG by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs is a comic but bittersweet story of the emotional complexities of the gay/straight man relationship. In this two-hander, ably directed by Les Solomon, Corgan played by Samson Alston and Jimmy, played by Ryan Panizza, are two best friends one straight, one gay, both trying to understand and navigate a society that portrays stereotypes of masculinity.
Corgan and Panizza draw the best out of the witty and astute dialogue and the performances hold us in the grip of their fraught relationship. These two narrators tell the same story from very different perspectives. It’s not always a pretty tale as there too much booze, too much melon air freshener, vomit, ignored text messages, unsuccessful ventures into on line dating, Donkey Kong, crawling home to the parents and other messy situations.
Both characters are still suffering from the aftermath of broken relationships and as the story unfolds at a cracking pace, Corgan and Panizza break into each other’s narrative and very cleverly the angle from which we see the story and “truth” changes.
Quite dramatic lighting changes by Larry Kelly and sound by Finn Johnson help plunge us into the different emotions and memories of these characters.
There is a beautiful climax to the play with the dance sequence proving it is above all a story of friendship and this shines through both these talented actors as they struggle with the everyday decisions of life.
Part of this year’s Mardi Gras Festival, FAG/STAG plays till 7 March at El Rocco, 154 Brougham Street, Potts Point. This is small venue so make sure you book your tickets soon to this production which doesn’t shy away from the ugly side of life but overarching is the tender, funny side of men struggling to find their place with each other and with society.