It is hard to believe that Confessions of a Mormon Boy first premiered close to 20 years ago in Salt Lake City in 2001. Steven Fales’ profoundly moving autobiographical work recently returned to Chapel Off Chapel as part of the 2020 Midsumma Festival, following a brief season in the same venue last year.
Having seen Mormon Boy last time round, the work still feels as fresh and engaging on a second viewing. A classically trained actor with an MFA in acting and a BFA in musical theatre, Fales is a consummate performer, who has crafted a compelling and charismatic journey, not only for himself, but also the audience.
Based on original direction by legendary Tony Award-winner Jack Hofsiss, much is crammed into this 90-minute show. Fales is sixth-generation Mormon, lived for his faith, undertook a two-year mission, attended Brigham Young University, married and had two children.
But behind the clean-cut facade and a bright toothy smile, there is a conflicted man in turmoil. Fales comes to the realisation that he’s gay. Following failed attempts at conversion therapy, divorce and excommunication from the church he loved, Fales’ journey takes a darker turn.
A move to New York, sees his life spiral on a downward trajectory of drug use, sex work and self-loathing, eventually finding acceptance and self-redemption through sharing his journey through humour, song and candid storytelling that is both deliberately provocative and amusingly revelatory with more than one surprise thrown in the mix.
Confessions of a Mormon Boy is more than just a Mormon or a gay show – it is ultimately one-man’s journey on a long-road to discovery and self-acceptance.
Confessions of a Mormon Boy
The Loft – Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Sunday 9 February 2020 – 5.00pm
Season: 7 – 9 February 2020 (season closed)
For more information about Steven, visit: www.stevenfalesonline.com for details.
Image: Steven Fales in Confessions of a Mormon Boy (supplied)
Review: Rohan Shearn