Saturday, May 28, 2022



Become The One by Adam Fawcett.

  Directed by Lyall Brooks. Compositions and sound design by Tom Backhaus. Performers Chris Asimos and Mason Gasowski. Lab Kelpie in association with Belco Arts. Belconnen Arts Centre. May 26-27 2022.

Reviewed by Peter Wilkins

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” No truer word was every writ than in the case of the gay love of ace footballer Tom Bardy (Chris Asimos) than that for his cleaner Noah (Mason Gasowski.) Playwright Adam Fawcett’s  Become the One poses a probing conundrum. Why is it that no AFL player has yet come out? The recent coming out of American sportsman Carl Nassib and Australian soccer player Josh Cavallo is an act of considerable courage in a climate of entrenched heterosexuality in the sporting domain. And yet the testosterone charged world of elite football inhibits the freedom of its players to reveal their true sexuality. Fawcett’s play  under the power-charged direction of Lyall Brooks attempts to find an answer to the conundrum. Deeply personal and startlingly honest, Become The One reveals the true cause of silence and fear in admitting to the love that still harbours a lie more than a century after Oscar Wilde spoke of “the love that dare not speak its name.”

Chris Asimos as Tom. Mason Gasowski as Noah

In Asimos and Gasowski Brooks has cast the perfect actors to play out the struggle for an elite sportsman to admit to himself, his family and friends and a nation of fans his true feelings and natural sexuality. Asimos captures the athleticism and toned physicality of the professional football player, while Gasowski emanates the fragility and vulnerability of a self esteem, disparagingly  assaulted by prejudice. What is cleverly captured by Fawcett’s text is the changing status in the relationship of the two men. Tom’s struggle to reconcile his professional and personal persona with the expectation placed on him is contrasted by Noah’s growing assertiveness. Tom’s denial is challenged by Noah’s honesty. “I am not gay.” He cries. “I am not bisexual.” It is a cry that is forced to admit to the truth as Tom desperately seeks a solution to his anguish. It is the journey to resolve and find a resolution that drives Fawcett’s powerfully moving drama.

Asimos and Gasowski inhabit the roles with absolute conviction and intelligence. Asimos perfectly creates Tom’s façade and then proceeds to dismantle the deception to arrive at acceptance. Gasowski’s Noah bears the burden of the outcast. His is such a sensitive and moving performance. Brooks directs with the keen eye of empathy and the heart of compassion. Tom Backhaus’s composition and sound design is riveting, building the tension and underscoring the pain and anguish of Tom’s struggle and Noah’s desperate desire for true love. If lust be the messenger of love then it is ultimately love that must hold full sway in a sea of honesty and trust.

Fawcett’s rollercoaster of emotion and conundrum is played with forceful commitment to its theme. Two men from very different worlds but with a shared love come together to discover and admit to their true selves. Although Become The One is ultimately a queer story, its lessons are universal as it lifts the veil of dishonesty and confusion to reveal a truth that cannot be denied.

At the last performance of its national tour, this very tight production of Become The One continues to be played with vital force and gripping conviction and although we do not learn of Tom’s final decision we are left with the feeling that it is only a matter of time before it will no longer  be a shame to admit to the love that has a proud and loving name.