BWW REVIEW: FAG/STAG Presents A Glimpse Into A Friendship As Described By Two Quite Different Men
Monday 15th January 2018, 7pm, SBW Stables
FAG/STAG presents an amusing and endearing expression of a friendship, presented from two points of view. Written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs, this 60 minute two hander presents and interesting insight into young men trying to navigate, love, life, and friendship in a world of expectations, technology and what would otherwise be seen as a comfortable life.
The premise of the work, presented as two parallel explanations to the audience, is that Corgan (Isaacs) and Jimmy (Fowler) both dated Tamara and whilst those relationships didn't work because Corgan kept making her cry and Jimmy realised he was gay, the boys became friends. The story starts when both boys receive an invitation to Tamara's marriage to a man that both boys declare is decidedly dull and both present their version of the events in their lives in the lead up to Tamara's big day. They finish each other's stories, recount their views of the same events, present an insight into their different but similar lives and prove that whilst their problems may seem trivial, they are still important to the people experiencing them.
With a bare set save for the two stools and side tables bearing water and a Nintendo game console, Corgan and Jimmy's version of events are presented with a humour and honesty that captures their two natures. The comfortably well off Corgan spends his days playing Donkey Kong, drinking and sleeping in an apartment his mother bought for him. Jimmy earns an income selling subscription plans for charities on the street during the day, spending his nights with Grindr hook ups to try to forget his ex, Tim. Along with dealing with their own reactions to failed relationships, the two navigate society problems like drugs, alcohol, unprovoked violence as well as homophobia as a misunderstanding threatens to derail their friendship.
Whilst the work is set in Perth, citing landmarks like Connections, The Brass Monkey and Beaufort Street, it has a universality in the underlying message of friendship, acceptance and not judging other people when you don't know their story. Fowler and Isaacs present the work with a good balance of lightness and gravity as they move between moments they can address with humour and moments of melancholy as they feel their worlds, dominated by their friendships and their relationships, fall in around them. Whilst most of the work is presented with the two seated, they utilise a good level of physicality to express their stories which spark roars of laughter at the recognition of familiar events, plus additional expressions of acknowledgement from ex-Perthites. The pace and tone captivates and the timing as the story bounces back and forth is precision.
Regardless of your persuasion or gender, FAG/STAG is an entertaining piece that is relatable on some level to anyone, whether it be the perils of trying to pick up, the challenge of technology in relationships, the importance of friendship or the battle to maintain your identity when you really only want to fit in.
10-27 January 2018