Fag/Stag (Fringe 2017)

 The Finest Friendship

© Jamie Breen (Very Serious)

I didn’t have much time to see many productions last year at Fringe (I was working backstage on another production). I did, however, manage to see a couple of shows, one being a duologue that I did not enjoy in the slightest. I had no idea what to expect from Fag/Stag, at first thinking it was a comedy, but I was already wary of the two motionless men sat before me. Oh no, here comes the deja vu of being mind-numbingly lectured for an hour. However, despite going in with a completely wrong mindset, Fag/Stag was probably one of, if not the best dramatic Fringe show I’ve seen to date.

The story concerns Corgan and Jimmy during the days leading up to their mutual friend’s wedding, Tamara, Corgan’s ex. Corgan is a typical twentysomething singleton who is still hung up on Tamara, while Jimmy is a newly single gay man who is, also, still hung up on his ex.

The dialogue is brilliant: providing an interesting view into the minds of these compelling characters and how their exterior personalities mask their everyday concerns. While movement is almost non-existent, the actors beautifully create an image of modern-day Brisbane. The duo goes through multiple situations, from busy nights out to lazy days playing Donkey Kong, executed by subtle lighting changes and intricate descriptions of the characters’ insights and general moods.

To top this, Fag/Stag gets the unreliable narrator trope down to a ‘T’, providing conflicting viewpoints that don’t make the audience crave for truth, but rather carefully direct our attention to the shortcomings of the strong personalities presented. The plot is simple, yet captures a perfect snapshot of the friendship of the two men through their ups and downs. It slowly lets its tale unfold leading to a bittersweet ending that, I can’t lie, had me a little tearful.

Fag/Stag knows exactly what it is and what it’s doing throughout: it has a thorough understanding of modern-day challenges young people face while presenting an honest portrayal of a relationship between two best friends. Fag/Stag is an absolute delight.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

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