A Brief History of the Fragile Male Ego walks a wobbly line between poking fun at the oversensitivity of men and expressing true concern about how men are desperate for emotional outlets and support.
Buried within this piece is an important subject, but its intentions are often hard to follow.
Framed as a lecture on the male ego for the Society of Men’s Universal Truth (SMUT) by the timid Andrea (Melanie Jordan) she proceeds to liven up her presentation with music and anachronistic visual aids—posing as Poseidon (hilariously with a small garden rake as his trident), Julius Caesar (dying what could only be called a disco death), and William Wallace.
For these men, their fragile egos led to violence, death and destruction.
Things get blurrier and confusing with more modern examples, when societal expectations for men are more complicated. The tone shifts to the semi-serious.
Jordan’s earlier broad, comedic character work is strong but some of the later characters are less precise (the cockney lead of Me and My Girl?).
While this intersectional feminist company is also satirising the emotional labour women do to salve these delicate egos, the lampooning is not as sharp as it needs to be.