Theatre that explores masculinity at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Theatre that explores masculinity at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Phoenix / credit: Rosemary Rance

Including Four Woke Baes, Bleeding Black and Phoenix

Poor old masculinity: when it isn't in crisis, it is being accused of toxicity, or being defended by inept internet activists, who manage to demonstrate its weaknesses in the very act of denying them. Fortunately, the Fringe offers plenty of chances to reflect on the matter, variously hoping for new models for the future and pointing out a few of the patriarchy's foibles and failures.

Bulldogs
Lil' Sister Productions
Paradise in the Vault, 3–9 Aug, 2.30pm
Homing in on the magical world of the USA, Kurt and Bradley give an insight into that most maligned of identities – the last one it is okay to mock, according to some Men's Rights Activists – the white male. Two ex-football players reunite to ponder equality, disability and maturity.

Four Woke Baes
Hidden People and Something for the Weekend
Underbelly Cowgate, 1–25 Aug (not 12), 5.05pm
Four liberal men go camping, only to be interrupted by the arrival of a woman. This stag trip turns introspective and writer Teddy Bergman delves into the darkness where 'bad behaviour still lives, like a furnace with coals at a low glow, ready to ignite.'

Who is Daniel King
Ed Eales-White
Assembly Rooms, 1–24 Aug (not 14), 6.55pm
Ed Eales-White has made his name as an actor in National Treasure and The Crown, but his one man show gets to grip with the problems of living the dream. Daniel King wants to be a dancer, but does this ambition enhance or undermine his fragile egotism?

Theatre that explores masculinity at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego / credit: Jassy Earl

A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego
Jordan & Skinner in association with the Pleasance
Pleasance Dome, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 14, 21), 4pm
Jordan and Skinner come from the rising Scottish clown scene, and this history is a lecture from a member of the Society of Men's Truth. The lecture tour hasn't been going so well, even though Andrea is sure that her message will help humanity get out from under a pressing weight.

Absolutely Reliable!
Ralf Wetzel
C Cubed, 1–25 Aug (not 13), 10pm
It's a Belgian clown show, which suggests something reliably out there: a man trying to find 'a gentle female touch'. Behind the mask, however, there are some dark male secrets ready to be revealed.

Bleeding Black
No Borders Performance
Greenside @ Nicolson Square, 2–24 Aug (not 11, 18), 4.20pm
When a five-year-old boy is told to 'harden up' or stop playing rugby, it leads to a life spent choosing a path of emotional toughness. Asking questions about the way New Zealand has been defined by its national sport, No Borders question the cost of playing the big man on and off the pitch.

Theatre that explores masculinity at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Brandi Alexander

Brandi Alexander
Tatiana Pavela
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 12, 19), 9.45pm
Ostensibly a visit to a comedy club in 1987 and the return of a stand-up after a long time away, Brandi Alexander asks some difficult questions about how a woman can survive in a scene dominated by men, before descending into darker territory: is this time for comedy to admit to its serious toxic problems?

Catching Comets
Ransack Theatre
Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul–25 Aug (not 7, 12, 19), 1.45pm
There are plenty of male macho role models – from Bruce Wayne to Willis, but are they still fit for purpose? When a young man finds the apocalypse is heading his way through an approaching comet, he is forced to emulate his heroes, even when his personal relationships already present enough of a challenge.

Drunk Lion
Chris Davis
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom, 1–25 (except 5, 6, 20), 5pm
The return of this 2014 Fringe success has an alcoholic lion meeting Chris, who seems to be at least something of a reflection on the writer-performer, who spent three years living in Mexico before committing his life to becoming a celebrity on the Fringe underground. With both Spanish and English placed in the service of Davis' reflection on 'his second home country', alcoholism and the connection between man and (anthropomorphic) beast.

Phoenix
Richard Marsh, Jessica Sharman and Something for the Weekend
Pleasance Dome, 31 Jul–26 Aug (not 13), 1.20pm
On a more positive note, Richard Marsh and songwriter Jessica Sharman team up for a one man musical that follows the odyssey of Ash Phoenix, who wanted to be a rock star but discovered that love and fatherhood don't need the glamour or egotism. However, commitment to being a working musician and a dad means that artistic suffering needn't be lost as he combines the roles of rock'n'roll and nurturing.

Catching Comets

  • 4 stars

Ransack Theatre After discovering a comet hurtling towards Earth, Toby snaps and turns into the action hero in his own movie on a mission to save the world from impending doom. Flashback a year: Toby is knocked off course when somebody crashes into his life. A disaster movie about falling in love. Catching Comets is a…

Who Is Daniel King

Ed Eales-White A story of a man who decides to be a dancer. Daniel's living the patriarchal dream, everything that should bring happiness. It hasn't. He discovers what he really wants, but is it what he needs? A comedy about male ego and dancing by Ed Eales-White. Writer/performer of Clever Peter and Bucket. As seen in…

Absolutely Reliable!

Ralf Wetzel (Belgium) Times are tough for George. He's a middle-class, middle-aged, straight, white man. What a lot in life! George is on a madcap journey to find what he desires – a gentle touch, a glance of recognition and a true female embrace. But just when everything is within his reach, all goes topsy-turvy.

Four Woke Baes

  • 3 stars

A stag party in the wilderness awakens four friends to their true natures. UK premiere from playwright Jonathan Caren (Gypsy, Netflix; The Sinner, Netflix; Rise, NBC; A Million Little Things, ABC).

Bulldogs

Lil' Sister Productions It’s the most pressing question of our time: what’s it like to be white and male in #MeToo America? Luckily for you, Kurt and Bradley have answers! Two years after high school graduation, these two ex-football players rekindle their friendship and seek to resurrect their glory days – but lies…

Phoenix

  • 2 stars

Richard Marsh, Jessica Sharman and Something for the Weekend The ultimate one-man band: guitarist, pianist, drummer… dad. A wannabe star unexpectedly becomes a father – and learns it's hard to make it big walking on Lego. This one-man musical comedy is played entirely live by virtuoso rocktopus Andy Gallo. From No. 1…

Brandi Alexander

  • 4 stars

Tatiana Pavela The year is 1987 and Brandi's on the first night of her comeback tour, eager to dish out the secret to her success: she got raped! Emerging from a long hiatus of self-loathing and chicken nuggets, Brandi finally lets loose. With cheap liquor burning her throat and a protective layer of Aqua Net, Brandi…

Drunk Lion

Chris Davis Drunk Lion follows an alcoholic lion who spends his days drinking into oblivion in a cantina until he meets Chris, a young foreigner learning how to speak Spanish. The unlikely pair forge an intoxicated bond over life, love, and alcohol. 'Imaginative, free-flowing storytelling of very high quality' ★★★★…

A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego

  • 3 stars

Jordan & Skinner in association with the Pleasance The multi award-winning Jordan & Skinner present a riotous new solo show that cuts to the bone of gender politics. Andrea has been giving her lecture but it's not been going well – previous events were marred by protests and she's hoping the open-minded…

Bleeding Black

No Borders Performance Bleeding Black is a black comedy about a New Zealand boy called Sam, who is told in his first rugby match, age five, 'stop playing, or harden up'. He chooses to harden up, a decision that he keeps making throughout his life as he progresses through school, work, and watching professional rugby.

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