Masterclass overview – the ‘nice male artist’ put by way of the shredder | Edinburgh pageant 2022

Feidlim Cannon and Adrienne Truscott in Masterclass.

The nice male artist might quickly be on his method out, and never earlier than time. However Brokentalkers theatre firm and the feminist comedian Adrienne Truscott are taking no probabilities. Masterclass opens the door for the David Mamets and Ernest Hemingways of yore, with their machismo, their “underdeveloped feminine characters” and their “informal cruelty” – and ushers them on their method. And as for the remainder of us? We tender-hearted non-toxic feminist allies, tippy-toeing round our trendy maleness? Oh pricey. It seems like we’ve received to sling our hook too.

Feidlim Cannon and Adrienne Truscott in Masterclass.
No pretence to realism … Feidlim Cannon and Adrienne Truscott in Masterclass. {Photograph}: Ste Murray

Such is the message of Masterclass – or can be, have been Masterclass not cautious to warn us towards parsing performs for a message within the first place. Act One attracts consideration to its personal oddity, as Feidlim Cannon’s interviewer (plaid blazer, conspicuous wig) interrogates shotgun-toting Truscott in drag, “the perennial Mr Nasty of American theatre”. His latest hits embody Fats Cunt; his father was (he tells us) “an asshole and a drunk and a fantastic man”. The facial hair is ridiculous and the motion extremely choreographed. There’s no pretence to realism as Cannon hymns Truscott’s genius, Truscott pops a cigarette into each facial orifice, and each re-enact a sexist scene from one of many enfant horrible’s performs.

All of that is enjoyably absurd and intriguing, whereas scoring pertinent factors concerning the abusiveness inherent within the genius cult and in some traditions of actor tuition too. Then, because the pair’s play recital bleeds into actual life, issues change – and for a second, it’s not clear the present can bridge the credibility hole from cartoonish faux-masterclass to impromptu argument between its real-world creators. As Truscott challenges Cannon on his behaviour within the course of of creating the present, that present dangers over-articulating its perspective on “the dynamics of gender and energy” and “the self-serving hypocrisy of half-baked male allyship”.

Cannon’s allyship does appear half-baked: males within the viewers might need for a stouter defence. However – because the second act efficiently negotiates the bumps in its roads – Masterclass presents a powerful, playful provocation to those that, whereas persevering with to dominate the stage (and the web page), flatter ourselves that we’re the nice guys.