Melbourne Fringe Review: FAG/STAG

Addressing what it means to be a modern Australian male — or simply human — The Last Great Hunt’s FAG/STAG is incredibly relatable and honest.

Best friends Jimmy (Jeffrey Jay Fowler) and Corgan (Chris Isaccs) navigate break-ups, hook-ups, drunken nights and the spaces in between in this dually narrated story. FAG/STAG doesn’t embellish the beautiful or downplay the difficult. It walks the narrow line of raw and real human experience, and having two narrators allows the audience to connect deeply with both characters. Human nature is to express oneself in an intrinsically biased way. FAG/STAG overcomes telling a slanted story weaving together multiple perspectives.

While FAG/STAG is delivered with little physical movement, the stripped-back approach is quite effective. Rather than relying on body language for expression, Jimmy and Corgan primarily sit or stand in one place, allowing for the show’s powerful narration to guide the audience through each scene. Hearing from Corgan that he stared at the wall, smashed a bottle off an IGA, and wondered how young the girl lying at his side might be, the audience is invited into each moment. The work led me to question how often I myself will remain silent, make pointless conversation or rely on nervous fidgeting to avoid addressing a difficult or emotional topic.

Offering insight into what it means to be an Australian male—whether gay or straight—FAG/STAG left me wondering how communication in a male-male interaction feels. Jimmy and Corgan support each other, even if that means cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night. Despite understanding that they always have each other’s backs, the pair never openly discusses their concerns, struggles, or deepest feelings. I marvel at the unspoken care they have for each other and ponder how society’s expectations of ‘male-ness’ as being stoic and strong impacts men.

Beautifully crafted and delivered, FAG/STAG is authentic, shining a light on how life’s little moments reflect the humanity within us all.

Hannah Rundman, originally from Michigan, USA, is an arts manager and lover of art that breaks the mold of established mediums. She values eye contact and art that brings diverse groups of people together.

FAG/STAG runs 18 September to 3 October at Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall. This venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of The Last Great Hunt.