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Festival Review: Angry Alan ****

Michael Cox reviews a production that's 'not an easy watch, but certainly an essential one'.

Anyone wanting to get a sense of Trump’s America needs to meet Roger, the main character in Penelope Skinner’s play Angry Alan. Roger’s middle age has not gone well: he’s divorced, barely sees his son, has lost a high-powered job and is in a relationship with a woman who’s feminist views seem alien to him. So when scrolling through the internet and finding a group of men, led by someone who goes by ‘Angry Alan’, he begins to have an awakening—an awakening about how repressed he’s been as a white man.

The plot is actually pretty basic: most of the turns can be seen a mile off. However, the sincerity of Donald Sage Mackay’s performance is astounding. He creates a human face for an individual who clearly has intelligence but has been nudged down the wrong path. The more he reads and watches, the more convinced he becomes that’s he’s caught in a conspirator’s rut. The fact he says this with charm, a smile on his face and a growing belief that he’s right is what makes this production so good—and so terrifying at times.

Not an easy watch, but certainly an essential one.

Angry Alan is at the Underbelly in Cowgate until August 26th.

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