Men in the Cities, Traverse Theatre, review: A splintered snapshot of modern masculinity
Edinburgh Festival 2014: An important, zeitgist-pricking piece from Chris Goode, one of the UK's most interesting theatre-makers
Chris Goode's powerful, impassioned and densely written new show takes place in the immediate aftermath of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May 2013.
It's one of two senseless deaths that frame Men in the Cities; the other is the suicide of a young gay man called Ben.
Goode's last work at Edinburgh was the uniquely touching Monkey Bars for which he interviewed groups of 7 to 10 year olds about their lives and the world around them, then had adult actors speak their words.
This, a collaboration between Goode's company and the Royal Court, is another state-of-the-nation piece but also something quite different; a one-man show of many voices in which Goode himself, a bear of a man in a hoodie and suit, stands at a microphone and plays, compellingly well, a convincing cast of urban males.
Among them is Rehan, a newsagent who doesn't understand the headlines anymore; Jeff, an old soldier who finds himself wondering if Rigby's killers had a point; Rufus, a 10-year old who is addicted to tween boy porn; and Graeme, a pensioner struggling with the idea he might be gay. They all have something in common.
They all feel alone, their lives spattered to a greater or lesser degree with sex and violence. They are all damaged, depressed, lonely and repressed, grieving, yearning or hurting.
This, then, is a splintered snapshot of modern masculinity, or at least its dark side. No happy-go-lucky Festival Dads here, which is not to say that Goode does not lighten the overarching bleakness with the odd well-timed joke here and there.
To use the words of Rigby's killers Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale as a jumping-off point to talk about the whys, wherefores and whithers of modern manhood is a bold gamble, which pays off.
A section which also attempts to weave in Woody Allen, Philip Seymour Hoffman's overdose and Flight MH370 feels gratuitous.
In the final segment, Goode makes an audacious play to push beyond the bounds of just another Fringe monologue with an explosive rant which suggests there could be a killer inside every man.
It's a committed performance and if it doesn't quite take flight in the way he intends, this is still an important, zeitgist-pricking piece from one of the UK's most interesting theatre-makers.
To 24 August (0131 228 1404)
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge?'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK