Theatre review: Fag/Stag

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.

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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.