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.