Review: Good Morning, Faggi

A sublime melody of pain and resilience

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Good Morning, Faggi | Image courtesy of Summerhall
Published 18 Aug 2023

This “autobiographical documentary musical” begins with subterfuge. Bjarni Snæbjörnsson kicks off the show, accompanied by his friend and composer Axel Ingi, with the kind of high-energy forced cheeriness of a kids’ TV presenter. He tells us he loves life. On the opening number, a saucy, over-the-top ditty in which he warns the audience to “guard your precious rectal holes”, Snæbjörnsson sings about his idyllic existence in Iceland – “a queer paradise” – with his wonderful husband. It’s a song so saccharin your teeth will hurt, but it turns out Snæbjörnsson doth protest too much. Like his cheery persona, this opening song is papering over a lifetime of pain that many queer people will recognise.

The show is based around Snæbjörnsson’s teenage diaries, which are displayed stage-left. Between songs, Snæbjörnsson will rummage through entries, where he finds a young boy with an upbeat mantra (“Think positive! Smile!”) but he’s barely holding it together. The diary entries act like a mosaic of Snæbjörnsson’s life, spilling out in a mixed-up chronology of bullying, traumatic coming-outs, discrimination at work and painful self-loathing. The songs become more plaintive, and Snæbjörnsson’s ironic mask slips away to reveal a man who’s been deeply traumatised by being made to feel like an outsider.

In Good Morning, Faggi, queer audiences will likely see a mirror held up to their own life while everyone else will find a devastatingly open-hearted performance that’s often painful to watch, despite the beauty of Ingi’s songs and the warmth of Snæbjörnsson’s performance. Prepare to be a bubbling mess by Good Morning, Faggi’s bittersweet climax.