A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego (3 stars)

A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego

credit: Jassy Earl

Rip-roaring character show inventively picks at the seams of toxic masculinity

Lead performer Melanie Jordan inhabits an abundance of comedically magnified male icons like Julius Caesar and José Mourinho in a high energy hour of slapstick-coated feminist wit.

The show is packaged as a lecture led by softly spoken femme Andrea who is presenting on behalf of SMUT (Society of Men's Universal Truth), something so laced with irony, laughs are secured from the word go. Props, like a top hat, football and sword, are used to pull archetypal males past and present into the limelight. Freud arrogantly addresses the crowd with his theory of ego before later returning to compare women to sponges (who can survive a few pricks) and men to balloons. The dialogue throughout draws on historical facts and, when paired with a fair amount of gesticulating, polarises the issues through ideals about masculinity's qualities.

Segues from lecture slides to characters continue throughout; William Wallace swings his sword while 'modestly' declaring all the many causes he'd die for. The show is fluid, but the characters could use a little refinement to eliminate the moments in which accents blur. It's slapstick but ultimately the amalgamation of dialogue and obtuse physical comedy skilfully picks at the seams of toxic masculinity and addresses how its issues could be alleviated.

Pleasance Dome, until 26 Aug (not 14, 21), 4pm, £12 (£11).

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…

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