Review: Angry Alan at Underbelly Cowgate

Roger’s life is falling apart. He’s stuck in a dead-end job with an ex-wife he hates and a son who won’t speak to him.

It wasn’t always like this, and Roger can’t help but ask himself: where did it all go wrong? Through the deep dark whirlpool of Google searches he comes up with the only reasonable explanation: feminism. The world’s gone mad with political correctness and men everywhere are being oppressed by the now gynocentric world, or at least that’s what Angry Alan, online men’s rights campaigner, says. Penelope Skinner’s Angry Alan tells the tale of a man grasping at whatever sense of control he can as the illusion of power slips further and further away from him, and is a surprisingly funny yet terrifyingly real insight into the darkly twisted world of men’s rights activism.

It’s hard not to laugh at Roger’s new found ‘facts’ of men’s oppression in the modern-day USA, but by far the funniest moments of the play aren’t even these scripted satirical scenes. Ironically, the statements which get the most laughs are those in the YouTube videos which play intermittently behind Donald Sage Mackay’s performance – and these are real videos. These are the thoughts of real men who honestly believe that the tables have been turned and that men are now the ones being oppressed by a system that favours women. Their words are laughable as you first hear them, but they take on a more ominous edge as the play goes on and you begin to realise that there are more people out there that believe these ‘facts’ than is a comforting thought to live with.

Tragically dark and funny, Angry Alan exposes the lengths to which white male supremacy will go in order to cling on to absolute power in a progressing world. Roger truly believes that his beliefs are the linear consequences of the rise of feminism and female empowerment, but the irony is that it’s the consequences of these beliefs which will be the ultimate tragedy as the narrative reaches its deafening climax. In the “grab them by the pussy” age where #MeToo is still needed, this is simply a must see.

Angry Alan, Underbelly Cowgate, 2-26 Aug, 3.20pm

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