Majestic Repertory Theater’s latest asks plenty of shocking questions…and you may not like the answers.
Wow…where to start with this one? It’s not often that you attend a small, community-theater play, then find it permeating your thoughts well into the next day. Then again, you’ve probably never seen anything quite like Majestic Repertory Theater‘s ANGRY FAGS. The name alone makes it clear that you’ve entered precarious territory. Hold on tight, and leave the kids at home.
The premise of ANGRY FAGS is explosive…both literally and figuratively. The state of Georgia is on the brink of chaos during a heated, divisive Senatorial battle. A hate crime has put Bennett’s ex-boyfriend into a coma. Bennett happens to be the speechwriter for incumbent Senator Haines…who doesn’t want to directly deal with an attack on a homosexual in her campaign…despite being a lesbian herself.
Cooper is Bennett’s best friend, convinced that he knows the perpetrator of the attack. Frustrated that gays are never seen as physical threats or heroes, he takes the law into his own hands. Once Bennett learns of Cooper’s vigilante justice, he joins his pal in taking things much, much further…with disastrous yet effective results.
Writer Topher Payne has constructed a puzzle box of twists, double-crosses, and heart-wrenching tragedy. Unfolding in non-linear fashion, the plot plays out like a Quentin Tarantino caper mixed with elements from a 90s sitcom. Moments of genuine laughter blend meticulously with scenes of peril, performed by a seasoned cast that completely embodies their roles.
Andrew Young is immediately likable as Cooper, a somewhat flamboyant partier whose dark side progressively reveals itself beyond anything you’d expect. Ray Winters is solid, charismatic, and sympathetic as the emotionally-torn Bennett.
Sean Stuart has some of the best moments as a dangerously-driven “Adam”, whose revelation in the finale will shake you to the core. And April Sauline gives another standout characterization as “Kimberly” to match her sinister villain in CLOWN BAR 2 earlier this year.
Hallie Lyons and Jillian Austin bring gravitas as two polar-opposite politicians who discover that they might be very much the same. And Valerie Carpenter-Bernstein channels her finest “Moira Rose” (SCHITT’S CREEK’s Catherine O’Hara) as “Deidre Preston”, the ambulance-chasing equivalent to a local news anchor.
Director Troy Heard does a splendid job of handling the delicate yet volatile material while giving it an emotional pulse. Despite a run time of over two and a half hours (including intermission), the pacing never lags. You’ll be drawn into the opening sequence and on the edge of your seat until the gasp-inducing conclusion.
ANGRY FAGS poses several thought-provoking conundrums, yet pulls no punches when examining the consequences. How do you know when you’ve gone too far for a cause? Do individuals have the right to make decisions that will forever impact everyone around them? And can horrible acts of violence be justified when the end result improves society as a whole? As ANGRY FAGS demonstrates, sometimes the answers are harder to comprehend than the questions that created them.
ANGRY FAGS performs Thursday through Sunday at various times through October 23rd. Click here for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets. Majestic Repertory Theater is located at 1217 S. Main Street in the Arts District.