Review: The Book of Faz

Praise his name and hallelujah! In the debut of his one-man show, Tasmanian theatre maker Michael Fazackerley takes his audience on a comedic journey through time as he exposes his past and reads from the (unholy) Book of Faz.

Michael Fazackerley | image supplied

Approaching the altar in a faux fur coat, sparkly knee-high boots, and an abundance of shiny accessories, Fazackerley oozes confidence as he tells a magical tale of how one boy discovers the raging queer inside of him. From his infatuation with Disney villains, to a definition of ‘fag-hag’, there’s never a dull moment in the 45-minute run time. The show’s witty and satirical humour has the audience in a fit of laughter right from the start.

It takes great skill to command the stage, but Fazackerley does this flawlessly through his natural exuberance and sparkling personality. A standout moment in the show comes when Fazackerley asks participants from the audience to assist him in re-enacting some of the awful first dates he’s been on. Loud chuckles fill the space when the trio of contestants, known as Snake Guy, Psych Guy, and Expensive Couch Jerk, read from their individualised scripts backed by a wonky flute track.

Throughout the show, there is ample audience interaction. Sometimes, you almost forget you’re actually watching someone on stage, as it feels like you’re having a casual chat with a friend. However, Fazackerley doesn’t allow this to overpower his performance, or become the driving force behind his content. Instead, he uses it to fuel his fire.

A parting message is bestowed upon the audience towards the end of the show in what he calls ‘Faz-mmandments.’ During this, Fazackerley preaches about being your most authentic self, embracing biodegradable glitter, and sharing your own life stories. This moment adds even more sincerity and genuineness to the overall performance, as you’re left to ponder about the ways you could improve your life and be more honest with yourself.

The Book of Faz successfully demonstrates the value of taking life experiences and remodelling them for theatrical consumption. Whether exposed across the stage for all to witness, or hidden behind layers, it’s always interesting to see how artists choose to reveal themselves in their work. In Fazackerley’s case, you’re able to notice how parts of his existence are mixed and blurred through religious connotations. He combines the right amount of relatable authenticity with slight fabrication.

This is the first time Fazackerley wrote and starred in his own one-man show. However, without looking into his performance background, you would be none the wiser. His explosion of charisma and talent should be shared far beyond the four walls of Astor Hotel’s intimate Gillies Room stage. Here’s hoping we’ll be seeing more fabulous queer-centred productions from Fazackerley soon.

Rating: ★★★★★
Reviewed performance: 25 February 2020

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