Archive for August 14th, 2017

Fag/ Stag

Fag/ Stag

Sometimes the simplest execution with an inventive, witty and thought provoking script is all that is needed to make a Fringe show a success. In the case of Fag/ Stag two guys, Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs, sit on two stools discussing the pros and cons of their slightly askew bromance and the result is a sharp, provocative insight into the different male worlds of straight and gay types and where the differences and similarities lie and in what way this affects such relationships.
Both Jimmy (Fowler) and Corgan (Isaacs) hve at some point dated a girl Tamara and although Jimmy is now gay and in a relationship with Tim he is closer to Corgan who is still heartbroken over the ending of his relationship with Tamara. Tamara herself is now about to be married and the premise of this production is the month long lead up to her nuptials and resides in a habitat of Grindr, Tinder, drunken nights out, ambiguous sexuality and computer games.
The show is shot through with dry, sarky humour, wanton putdowns and misguided differing perspectives on the very same situations but is also enlightening as it shows how the gay and straight worlds can collide and collude but raises the question that the differing sexualities raises a whole set of other issues. Although there is never any explicit sexual tension between Jimmy and Corgan there is an implicit sense that there relationship is built on affection and an understanding that is someway beyond sexuality. This is an area that is rarely discussed or even addressed in such matters.
The script is fast paced and captures both the isolation and pressure that both types are expected to conform to and where this leads them in the wrong decisions they often make. It impressively takes its time to unfold never feeling forced or rushed, allowing the audience to absorb what is being said.
Definitely an impressive show with lots to recommend it, Fag/ Stag takes the simplest of premises and runs with them.
Fag/ Stag is on at Underbelly Belly Button until August 28th at 4pm.


The Revlon Girl

Set not long after the Aberfan disaster of 1966 when 116 school children, along with 28 adults, lost their lives when colliery waste collapsed from an overlooking hill devastating a local school and community in one fell swoop. The fall out was heartbreaking for those who lost loved ones and with responsibility lying with those who granted approval for placing the pits in such an obviously unsuitable place there was also the matter of blame and subsequent compensation.
Based on true events this play by Neil Anthony Docking finds us eight months on from this tragedy and a town still swamped in grief and anger. A group of local women making up a support group have uncharacteristically enlisted the services of a Revlon representative to come and show them how to apply make up in the hopes of gaining some self-respect; encouraging them to feel positive about themselves by attempting to make themselves feel beautiful again.
It is a feisty production and the five actors on stage all lend the piece the necessary drama, conviction and pathos it deserves. Standout performances come particularly from Bethan Thomas as the feisty, swears like a trooper Rhona, Charlotte Gray as the eager to please Sian and the Revlon Girl, Charlotte, Antonia Kinlay who herself has hidden depths and an empathy not at first imagined.
It is however the ensemble itself which gives the performance its real innate strength and in a Fringe where one man shows and two-handers are all the rage it is a pleasure to see actors actually engage with each other and interact in a way which captures the different nuances of various individuals.
If the play does have a fault it is that the direction by Maxine Evans is a little flat and due to the lack of any stage effects or backdrops perhaps a little more imagination could have been applied to the use of space. This is a small complaint however and the performances are really what matters here. Capturing the range of emotions and how differently people adapt to them following a tragedy such as this, reveals a powerful, moving work where some people want to leave the scene of their heartache while others simply can’t.
It is also especially poignant in the wake of the Grenfell Towers disaster of a few months back when a community decimated by corporate greed pay the highest price for negligence on the part of those out to make a quick buck at the cost of human lives proving that over fifty years on not much has really changed.
The Revlon Girl is on at Assembly Roxy until August 28th at 1pm.