Review By Adam Stepfner
Angry Fags by Topher Payne - A revenge story about good gay guys gone bad. Bennett is really trying to keep it together right now, he's broken up with his boyfriend, and moved in with his best friend Cooper. His boss, an openly lesbian Georgia state senator, is up for re-election. When Bennett’s ex is bashed in the car park, the senator refuses to label it a hate crime – because, under Georgia law, hate crimes against homosexuals don’t exist. Tipped over the edge, Bennett and Cooper embark on a vendetta, reasoning that if gays aren’t respected enough to win equal justice and rights, fear will achieve what good intentions and politics cannot. Directed by Mark Nagle and starring Lachie Pringle, Brynn Antony, Emily Weare, Meg Shooter, Pheobe Fuller, Tom Wilson and Monique Kalmar, this show is a funny yet dark take on the issues surrounding the LGBTQI+ community in today's world.
Mark Nagle's direction, although tame, had a clear vision, allowing Payne's dialogue to flow smoothly. The show plays out in a way where majority of the climax happens towards the final 30 minutes, which for me made it hard to follow as there was no real build up. Before the interval, a "climax" had manifested although at the beginning of the next act I personally felt this event had been forgotten about. Personally I would've liked to have seen the piece be more savage, for a show about hate crime vigilante it just felt too "G rated" for me. For many, this will not a bad thing at all, I just thought there was a lot more story there if the pain of the vigilante was further examined. The stage was broken up into sections, working well in the context of this piece but also caused some minor lighting issues in keeping all actors well lit throughout
Phoebe Fuller was the stand out performer for me. Every scene was taken on with such care whether comedic or dramatic, and an incredibly well rounded and nuanced character. Lachie Pringle as the vibrant and somewhat controlling Cooper also stood out amongst the cast. Brynn Antony was excellent as the lead. Emily Weare, Meg Shooter and Monique Kalmar played perfectly together, giving moments on tension and unity, while Tom Wilson gave great life to Adam.
Set designers Marta Rodriguez and Mark Nagle created a set that worked perfectly for this piece. Combining office vibes with a homely aspect and differentiating between spaces, with the aid of David Marshall-Martin's lighting design, worked so well for this show. The show used projection of various interviews, news reports and speeches which added another layer to the piece, also allowing it to be easier for the staging of the show, rather than actors having to perform these moments live.
Angry Fags comments on LGBTQI+ rights in today's society, and how passion can very quickly manifest into something incredibly bad. Well put together, and acted I'd recommend this show to anyone in Sydney, playing at New Theatre until March 7th.
Photo Credit: Chris Lundie
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.