Theatre review: Fag/Stag

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Corgan (Chris Isaacs) and Jimmy (Jeffrey Jay Fowler) are best mates, both of whom once loved mutual friend Tamara – in Jimmy’s case, years before he realised he was gay.

Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61)


Tamara’s marriage to interloper Jack (described by both men as having a “piss-weak handshake”) is on the horizon, and we hear tales of the lads’ escapades in the weeks leading up to the big day.

This no-frills two-hander is not quite what you might expect from Perth theatre company The Last Great Hunt – their 2011 Fringe sensation, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer, was a technical marvel, and even action-comedy Bruce and globe-trotting yarn The Great Ridolphi (both being staged at this year’s festival) have some bells and whistles attached. Fag/Stag simply has two blokes, sitting on chairs, talking about their feelings – or more accurately, not talking about their feelings.

Fowler and Isaacs’ script – along with their understated performances and fluent rapport – capture the oblique way men interact with one another: very rarely saying exactly what’s on their minds, instead encoding messages to each other in rolled-up cigarettes, shared beers and Donkey Kong sessions.

The centrepiece of this complex inarticulacy is a night out with Corgan’s “straight mates” – while Corgan feels perfectly secure in hanging out with Jimmy on a one-to-one basis, there’s a shift in dynamic as soon as his non-gay peers are introduced: both he and Jimmy struggle to share the same platonic intimacy in a larger group of men, and end up acting out as a result.

The show’s treatment of subjective truth is perhaps less unique, but no less well observed; by the end, you’ve learned that each storyteller has their own version of events, and it’s up to you to decide which – if any – has any relation to what really happened.

Until 27 August. Today 4pm.