Black Faggot (3 stars)

Samoan gay showcase drama

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This article is from 2014.

Black Faggot

Victor Rodger’s powerful two-hander is a high-energy (and, it has to be said, rather overlong) race through Samoan gay culture in New Zealand, from closeted football players to scheming rent boys, desperate teenagers to regretful older men, looking at not only homophobia and abuse, but also relationships, insecurities and pride.

Although the play’s targets start off bewilderingly broad (and fairly superficial as a result), Rodger gradually focuses on key storylines for deeper development, with often touching results – but there’s the nagging feeling that even several of the recurring characters (a camp, cleanliness-obsessed guy, or a Christian teen longing to ‘pray the gay away’, for example) are left worryingly shallow.

That said, under Roy Ward’s slick, smooth direction the play hits you with considerable force, with moments of heartrending pathos, and also hilarity in the no-holds-barred, in-your-face sex scenes.

What really carries it, though, are the explosive performances from Iaheto Ah Hi and Beulah Koale, who fill the stage with crackling energy, shifting with astonishing litheness from character to character and delivering both desperation and euphoria with equal commitment. Go to be swept away by the acting, but don’t expect too much by way of searing insight.

Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until 25 Aug (not 11), £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50).

This article is from 2014.

Black Faggot

  • 3 stars

It's not easy being young, gay and Samoan – especially when God and your mother are watching. Meet the undercover brother desperate to prove he's straight, an island mama whose beloved son turns out to be queer and a tough Samoan homo who's out, proud and in your face. This runaway hit of the Auckland and Melbourne Fringe…

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