A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego – Pleasance Dome

Presented by Jordan & Skinner with Pleasance

Runs at Pleasance Dome until August 26th

Today we’re having a presentation on A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego. We even have special guests! Sigmund Freud, Julius Ceaser, and Poseidon himself may make an appearance. These talks usually fall flat, but perhaps with visual aids and atmosphere of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, maybe we can finally discuss the importance of protecting the male ego?

It’s no laughing matter – at this very moment, half of the world’s population are being put down, humiliated and neglected. Men are having their precious egos abandoned by the women who ought to be reinforcing them. To do what precisely – to work, grow as individuals, fight off oppression and rising right-wing aggression? Or maybe, they’re just too busy gossiping and ignoring their duty of care. Well, thankfully Andrea from the Society of Men’s Universal Truth (SMUT) is trying to straighten out all of this nonsense.

Drawing inspiration from experiences with anti-feminist movements, Men’s rights activists and #NotAllMen advocates – First Fringe winners Jordan & Skinner bring their brand of frivolity crashing down on the ridiculous claims grown men have over their precious egos. Think Horrible Histories meets Margaret Atwood – but somehow subtler.  

Issues with the flow slow what should be an upbeat tempo – largely this lies in sketches which rely too heavily on running gags, if the jokes didn’t land the first time, it isn’t going to. Sigmund Freud’s visits are enjoyable, magnificent characterisation – exaggerating enough to sell the role, then, we have the ‘things to die for’ with William Wallace, an intriguing concept which painstakingly drags.

There’s an incredibly touching, if horrendously dark, but true subtext. That for all the joking, the male ego is fragile – not the fault of women, who have no control or hand in creating this. Instead, the very patriarchy which preaches how important it is to preserve ego, are who creates conditions where men don’t discuss mental illness. It’s here the writing makes up for any jokes which fall flat, an island of powerful commentary amidst the waves of silly.

SMUT thankfully fails to convince us the male ego is a rare creature worth protecting, where A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego succeeds is through part-sketch, part-commentary, with absolute clownish brilliance let down by painstaking improve sections.

Tickets available from: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/brief-history-of-the-fragile-male-ego