Angry Alan, Soho Theatre

Image result for angry alan. soho theatre

by Laura Kressly

Roger’s an average guy down on his luck, living with his girlfriend after being made redundant and wishing he could see his son more. Still bitter about his divorce and losing his job, he passes time wondering aimlessly around the internet. When he emerges from a youtube rabbit hole that led him to the user Angry Alan, Roger feels like he’s woken from a long sleep. The Men’s Rights Movement has gained another disciple.

Penelope Skinner’s monologue documents the transformation of an everyday, middle-aged dad into a rabid incel and the consequences this has on those around him. Skinner, who also directs, artfully uses comic timing and Donald Sage Mackay’s subtle delivery to punctuate the absurdity of the movement’s tenets. Roger is disempowered and laughed at, he is made pathetic rather than enabled.

Though MRAs are a very real danger to women’s health and safety, Skinner chooses not to present them in their authentic form, which would potentially cause audience trauma through uncritical recreation. Instead, Roger is heightened just enough to make a mockery of the misogynists, though as his choices begin the impact those around him, the laughs gradually diminish. We feel for them rather than him, and hope that the open ending sees his rehabilitation.

The set-free staging indicates the creeping infiltration of Roger’s adopted beliefs throughout supposedly progressive nations, and also serves to draw attention to the youtube-pulled videos showing the sort of people poisoning the minds of mediocre men feeling threatened by feminism. Mackay completely holds the space with his committed characterisation, and the hour passes quickly.

No single line is out of place, and the balance of the comic with tragic is spot-on. This is an angry little show with huge impact that smartly appropriates the rampant misogyny of its subject flipping the mirror so all its flaws are magnified.

Angry Alan runs through 30 March.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s