A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego

Aug 18 2019 | By More

★★★★☆  Thought-provoking

Young Critics Scheme review
Pleasance Dome (Venue 23): Wed 31 Jul – Mon 26 Aug 2019
Review by Amy Quinn

The idea of the differences between the male and the female ego is a controversial topic, especially nowadays where two-thirds of the total number of suicides are committed by males.

Melanie Jordan of feminist theatre company Jordan and Skinner tackles the topic head-on in A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego, playing the full Fringe the Pleasance’s Ace Dome.

Melanie Jordan. Pic: Jassy Earl.

Jordan plays the role of Andrea, a lecturer who has been struggling with her presentation due to protest. She’s come to Edinburgh’s Fringe hoping that the audiences will hear her out. She explains the male ego by transforming into various different famous males such as Freud, Julius Caesar and Jose Mourinho.

Under the direction of Caitlin Skinner, her shift in personality from Andrea’s sweet, awkward persona to the various different obnoxious male characters is particularly funny and helps to emphasise her point about the differences Andrea believes there are between men and women.

However, in some characters the way of making points is too over-the-top meaning that the premise is lost and it simply becomes amusing mockery. Other points that she makes are reassuring as they are relatable and Jordan’s strong stage presence and change in mannerism makes the switch between different characters easily understandable.

shocking and personal

This topic is a risky one, but Jordan handles it well by flipping the tone from jokey to serious when mentioning suicide. The harsh reality of what she’s discussing makes a bigger impact on your own feelings towards the topic as you realise how concerning it is.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough emphasis on this problem. The topic is shown in a shocking and personal manner however, she then then turns away from the idea of suicide, moving on to how the male ego impacts women.

Melanie Jordan. Pic: Jassy Earl.

Which means that when you leave, the most serious part isn’t fresh your mind. To get the message across, the show could perhaps end on a darker tone to make the audience feel compelled and to create a more emotional ending.

For a show that is dealing with something that causes so much discussion, it has been presented amazingly well as it is comprehensible, hilarious and fascinating to watch. Even if you don’t agree with what is being said, you are not being asked to do so.

It is important that we have shows like this one that can bring attention to different ideas and opinions. The only thing bringing it down is the slight glaze over what many believe to be the most important issue and how we can really make a change in problems caused by the ‘fragile’ male ego.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Pleasance Dome, 1 Bristo Square, EH8 9AL (Venue 23)
Wednesday 31 July – Monday 26 August 2019
Daily (not Weds 14, 21): 4pm.
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brief-history-of-the-fragile-male-ego

Website: www.jordanandskinner.com/
Facebook: @JordanandSkinner
Instagram: @jordanandskinner
Twitter: @joandskin


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