Men in the Cities – reviews of 'powerful but despairing' show

Aug 21, 2014

Story-teller Chris Goode explores the dark side of modern masculinity in his 'mesmerising' show

Richard Davenport
What you need to know

Men in the Cities, a one-man show performed by Chris Goode at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, explores the state of modern masculinity. By invoking real and fictional characters, including Philip Seymour Hoffman and a pensioner obsessed with the murder of Lee Rigby, Goode explores themes of sex and violence to discover what it is like to be a man in modern Britain.

It is a relatively rare theme in current theatre, with "feminism a much more zeitgeisty topic", says the Daily Telegraph. Until 24 August.

What the critics like

Written by "one of the UK's most interesting theatre-makers", the performance is a "depressing" but powerful portrait of men in crisis, according to The Independent. The monologue is "beautifully and often vigorously written", writes Lyn Gardner in The Guardian.

Laura Bennet applauds Goode's story-telling skills in the Telegraph. His performance as "clear and sharply focused" and he weaves together the various "mesmerising" tales with skill as "the piece builds, like a symphony, to a shattering emotional climax".

What they don't like

Despite a few well-timed moments of tenderness and humour, the show lacked a portrayal of man's "gentler, loving side", says the Telegraph. More should have been included to counteract the piece's "overwhelmingly bleak tone".

"It never quite ties the threads of its stories together to bring the personal and the political into focus", says the Guardian. The play also hints at the idea that a potential terrorist hides within every man, an idea that is "hard to buy".

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