Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61), Edinburgh
I booked my ticket for Penelope Skinner’s new play, Angry Alan, before the Fringe started and it has subsequently won a Fringe First Award which raised expectations – and it didn’t disappoint.
Skinner presents the reasonable Roger (Donald Sage Mackay) who stumbles upon men’s rights campaigner Angry Alan on YouTube, someone who seems to have the answers for all his ills (and he thought he had bowel cancer). His divorce, redundancy, high alimony payments can be explained away by what Alan describes as a ‘gyno-centric society’ which has suppressed men’s feelings and emotions and their place in society.
What Skinner and Mackay do so well is to present a man that isn’t dangerous with his new found views but rather misguided and lost. Yes, you’ll despair at some of the things he says – and laugh too – but ultimately he is a man who has little self-worth and doesn’t feel he belongs.
Angry Alan gives him a sense of purpose, a club to be part of where he feels empowered, invigorated and not alone. You’ll laugh, scoff and roll your eyes at the irony of what Roger says but the final blow is a tragic irony and made more so by the fact that Roger, despite his new take on gender equality, isn’t a terrible man.
If it doesn’t transfer to London, I’ll be very surprised.