|Photo by Chris Lundie|
New Theatre presents ANGRY FAGS by Topher Payne, at the New Theatre, King St. Newtown. 5th February - 7th March.
ANGRY FAGS, is an American play by Topher Payne, first appearing in 2015, to be re-written and achieve some very positive attention in 2017. This new version is what the New Theatre is presenting as their contribution to the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festivities.
A friend of Bennett Riggs (Brynn Antony) and his room mate, Cooper Harlow (Lachie Pringle), has been bashed. In the state of Georgia, where they are living, there is no legislation regarding Hate Crime and despite protest from the community, the local Lesbian Senator, Allison Haines (Meg Shooter), does not feel it is appropriate to take legal action against the perpetrator.
Feeling disempowered Cooper takes a vigilante revenge. Stimulated by that decision and successful action Cooper begins to develop a plan of vendetta sabotage and assassination, speculating that what respect is not given to the Gay community through good will and social compliance will be altered through acts of fear: that then, attention will be paid. The crimes escalate in their radical violence and the two men descend into a realm of heinous criminality.
in the first scene, Cooper and Bennett capture us with whip smart 'gay humour' while having a picnic before they ignite an explosion that kills, we learn later, not only their targeted victim but also many innocent bystanders. The play's structure takes us back in time and we watch these intelligent men grow from scene to scene into American psychopaths. The gathering horror towards our 'heroes' becomes overwhelming as they begin to have to kill their friends and co-workers to protect their anonymity.
We have met Kimberly Phillips (Phoebe Fuller) a young mother of children working in the same campaign office for the Senator as the two men do and found her endearingly funny. By coincidence of time she has to be silenced - killed. This leads to another two murders. Adam Lowell (Tom Wilson), a lover of Bennett takes control of the situation and escalates himself into an electable position of power with the help of the corrupt media represented by a television investigative reporter, Deidre Preston (Emily Weare). The political opposition, Peggy Musgrave (Monique Kalmar), is haplessly naive.
ANGRY FAGS begins as a gay comedy and finishes as gay horror. And like the South Korean Academy Award winner PARASITE, travels through several modes of genre. This is a whip smart play full of surprising twists and turns that reflects for us a recognition of the dark machinations of the moral dilemmas faced by our protagonists that step by step shifts the ethical lines of our supposedly civilised world. Sitting there in the New Theatre we recognise the corrupting influence of the Trump Era and what we have come to ignore and passively accept as the new normal.
Director Mark G. Nagle, guides his company of actors smoothly through the play, with Mr Wilson and Ms Fuller especially interesting inhabiting their responsibilities with confident wit and charm.
ANGRY FAGS is a surprisingly entertaining night in the theatre and probably worth your attention. It is witty, clever and has an objective that uses the gay invitation as a subtle temptation to take you into a a dark critique of the world we live in. We watch the world we know warp before our eyes. Amusement turns into horror.