Theatre review: A Brief History Of The Fragile Male Ego, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

A Brief History Of The Fragile Male Ego, Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)
A Brief History Of The Fragile Male Ego, Pleasance Dome (Venue 23)
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Performer Melanie Jordan and director Caitlin Skinner like to take risks when they create work together, and sometimes – as in their 2104 award-winning show Sanitise – those risks pay off magnificently.

A Brief History Of The Fragile Male Ego, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh * *

This time around, though, their attempt to satirise the fragile male ego in its various historic forms comes seriously unstuck, mainly because it requires Jordan – usually a brilliant physical performer – to spend far too much time talking; or rather shouting her way through a cliche-packed script – from a cod-Jewish-Austrian Freud to a ranting Scottish Braveheart – for which she lacks the vocal range, and which is in any case hardly worth the effort.

There are tantalising moments, particularly towards the end, when we catch a glimpse of Jordan’s ability to silence a room with a few simple, moving words and gestures; but mostly, this is an attempt at satire that depressingly misses the mark, and leaves the audience laughing in contented complicity with the very patriarchal attitudes it detests.

Until 26 August

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