Review: A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego at The Pleasance Dome
4★★★★

A fun, tongue-in-cheek pulling apart of the trajectory of the male ego ranging from historical heroes to contemporary iterations in workplace harassment (neck massage from a colleague anyone?).

and appropriately absurd. Where the piece misses the mark slightly is in the continuity of its message and tone when we follow the journey of a Jack-the-lad geezer who, bemused by contemporary feminism (can’t a man pay a woman a compliment when she’s walking alone in the middle of the night anymore?), contemplates suicide using a novelty tie.

The character is rendered comic, and the use of the novelty tie presumably supposed to be found amusing, but simultaneously we are encouraged to feel sympathy for the misogynist whose position in the modern world is lost as he considers ending his life.

Unsure whether we are supposed to laugh or empathise with this character, ultimately the audience feel uncomfortable doing either. Whilst points where the tone is inconsistent raise the question of whether we are to condemn or cushion the male ego, they are few and far between, and overall the show ridicules and makes light of the lingering fragility of masculinity that is likely to rise chuckles from women and men (if their egos can take it) alike.

A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego, The Pleasance Dome, 31 Jul – 25 Aug, 4pm

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