We’re probably not lacking plays about how tough it is to be a straight, white male. But that’s technically only half of Australian theatre company The Last Great Hunt’s Fag/Stag – and, besides, this is actually an astute, knottily funny exploration of identity and friendship.
Jimmy and Corgan became friends through Corgan’s ex-girlfriend. Now, as her wedding approaches, Jimmy has just broken up with his boyfriend and Corgan is lost. Together, they have Donkey Kong, but that might not be enough.
Fag/Stag is written and performed by Jeffrey Jay Fowler and Chris Isaacs. As Jimmy and Corgan, they sit side by side, perched on stools, talking to us and each other. One’s narrative mirrors the other’s as they let slip telling details.
The play drills insightfully into the misunderstanding, resentment and affection fuelling Jimmy and Corgan’s odd-couple friendship. Their wildly differing interpretations of the same events switch from spikily amusing to sad in a beat. Fowler and Isaacs make each falter interesting.
As Jimmy, Fowler is a rapid-talking bundle of quick wit, defensiveness and vulnerability. Isaacs wears Corgan’s smile like a mask. In subtle ways, their script catches the complexity and pitilessness of that lurking feeling that you’re not quite fulfilling your ‘role’, whether as a gay man or a ‘bloke’.
The result is a comedy that builds on its ‘bromance’ foundations into a satisfyingly unforced portrait of trying to work out who you are and where you fit. It unfolds with all the messy awkwardness, edges and humour of real life.