A Feminist’s Guide to the Festivals: Fringe shows about masculinity (in time order)

Square Go.jpg
Square Go at Summerhall

Masculinity is a hot topic at this year’s Fringe, so here’s our round-up of shows exploring it from all different angles.

The Abode
“Welcome to the subconscious fantasy realm of oppressed white American men! Davey Anderson’s new play follows young Samuel into the alt-right. Samuel feels like an outsider, unvalued in his own country. That is until the Trolls invite him into their vibrant secret community where everyone looks like him and his heritage is celebrated. Now sister Wendy faces a choice – join the Troll Hunters or court the Troll King, infiltrating his retro-futurist underworld in a bid to rescue her brother. An 80s-style adventure story exploring the depths of contemporary extremism. World premiere from 2012/2016 Fringe First Award winners.”

“Join Holly and Ted on a fantastical adventure through time and space. Tracy and Val are dinosaurs from different cultures. Aoife is a female astronaut leading a crew of distrusting males. Sarah-Jane and Lou-Ann are two teenage girls just trying to survive Year 10. Polaris explores the normalisation of hatred, toxic masculinity and the violence of language through imagined worlds and beguiling soundscapes that the performers create live on stage. ‘Joyfully ingenious’ (Stage). ‘Fantastic ingenuity… exuberant and engaging storytelling’ (GrumpyGayCritic.wordpress.com).”

The Spider Glass
“From chasing girls to catching spiders, James knows what’s expected of him as a man. With humour and honesty, in the landscape of #MeToo he’s now forced to face his complicity in the inherited story of masculinity. With male mental health being such a key issue in our culture and suicide being the biggest killer of men between 18 and 50, The Spider Glass entertains whilst inviting audiences to put a spotlight on the messages which dictate the unhealthy state of masculinity in the world, and how these stories have dramatically impacted the way we live.”

Angry Alan by Penelope Skinner
“‘Looking out over the country, this country, where I was born and raised, I wonder what’s going to become of us. Because this can’t be the future, can it? Everyone just… changing the rules?’ Roger thinks the world’s gone mad. He hates his job, his ex-wife torments him and to top it all, his girlfriend just discovered feminism. Roger’s about to lose his shit. Until he discovers Angry Alan: online activist and “voice of reason”… A darkly comic new play about masculinity in crisis from award-winning Penelope Skinner performed by Donald Sage Mackay.”

Natalie Palamides: Nate
“For the first time in history, it’s hard to be a man. Natalie Palamides (2017 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer) doesn’t understand this… but Nate does. Natalie Palamides is Nate. May include: consensual touching of boobies, non-consensual mind-blowing, and Nate’s hard, stretchy cock. Co-devised and directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner, Doctor Brown. ‘Deserves all the standing ovations she receives.’ ****1/2 (Chortle.co.uk). ‘Imagine a Margaret Atwood novel adapted by Vic Reeves.’ **** (Telegraph). ‘One minute you are roaring with laughter, the next stifling a tear.’ **** (Times). **** (List). ****(BroadwayBaby.com). **** (TheReviewsHub.com).”

Let’s Talk About Porn
“Is porn misogynistic or female empowerment in action? Why don’t we talk about porn? What impact does porn have on teenagers, adults and children? Is porn ultimately a good thing or a bad thing? Using original verbatim testimony from porn stars and members of the public, we present a non-judgmental, open-minded production exploring the world of porn fully, with no questions left unanswered. Fusing frank language with beautiful movement inspired by DV8, Gecko and Temper, Let’s Talk About Porn promises to spark fascinating conversations in Edinburgh this year.”

Square Go
“Max is a normal-ish kid in a normal-ish town. He spends his days daydreaming and hanging out with his weird wee pal Stevie Nimmo. But when Max is called for his first Square Go, a fight by the school gates, it’s his own demons he must wrestle with first. Featuring an original soundtrack by members of Frightened Rabbit, this unmissable collaboration between Fringe First-winning writers Kieran Hurley (Heads Up) and Gary McNair (A Gambler’s Guide to Dying) is a raucous and hilarious new play about playground violence, myths of masculinity and the decision to step up or run.”

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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