Review by Kate Gaul
“Good morning, Faggi” comes to Edinburgh Festival Fringe from Iceland’s Perplex Theatre Company. It’s a part cabaret, part musical, part confessional, and wholeheartedly an important look at ourselves! Bjarni Snæbjörnsson is onstage – it’s his story – with pal Axel Ingi Árnason at the keyboard. Loving these Icelandic names? Bjarni teases us with names of villages, fjords, fisherman and factoids about Iceland. The text is extremely evocative and that’s important because Iceland emerges as this liberal wonderland where men live happily with partners and dogs in fabulous apartments and drive electric cars. The songs are original, and this show is slick and sophisticated. Bjarni is a man in control. Deeper, there is shame, and vulnerability.
In the past, Bjarni Snæbjörnsson has found his teenage diaries, and is so taken by the content that he decides he must write a show based on his childhood ponderings and letters to his mother - and of course, it needs to be a musical! He is an incessant (obsessed?) diarist and its incredible source material. He has the precious diaries and actual letters onstage. Truth!
He travels from Iceland to Canada and later to Australia. Hoping to come out in Australia’s gay capital he finds himself in Canberra in March 2000. Bummer! The Olympics and Mardi Gras are over. Canberra (still) has only one gay bar. But persistence pays off! Obviously huge laughs of recognition from the Aussie in the audience (me!).
Jump to the future - as he navigates his personal history, he has a nervous breakdown. Knowing he still must write this play, with the support of dear friends, composer Axel Ingi and director Gréta Kristín Ómarsdóttir, he tries to understand what happened to cause his mental collapse.
A meta-theatrical performance about its own creation, “Good Morning, Faggi” explores how internalised homophobia is learned in supposedly liberal countries. It asks the audience to consider how liberals centre themselves in coming-out narratives, and questions if tolerance is enough to end systemic oppression. A perfectly crafted show where audiences can be reduced to sobbing messes as Bjarni stops the finale number, packs up his diaries and letters, and turns to us with a plea for change and kindness.
Gay people, straight people, all ages need to see this show – gather your friends. Take an imaginative tour of Iceland and spend an hour with this radiant and talented gentleman as he visits the darker chambers of the human heart.