Camden Fringe 2019: Alpha Who? at the Cockpit Theatre
Alpha Who? is a production that claims to discuss toxic masculinity and male suicide, but ultimately fails to engage in an open and coherent exploration about these important issues. Through misplaced metaphors and an aimless structure, the show feels as if it is exploiting these political talking points rather than engaging with them.
The one-man play, created and performed by Matt Franco, pairs elements of dance and art with the writing in order to portray a new performance experience. However, the excitement of seeing the inclusion of multiple mediums on the stage is extinguished by the lacking script. We follow a character who is considering suicide due to his father taking his own life. The subject never returns to this point, but instead derails into presenting aimless fragmented scenes that either disregard all the production’s claimed themes or repeat points in pseudo-poetic ways.
The show tries to discuss the need for vulnerability and calls for a new vision of masculinity, however, it does so without addressing the link between masculinity and suicide or dispelling current stereotypes. It also tries to encourage embracing femininity, but neither introduces a feminine persona nor presents a change in the protagonist. We see no development, no character journey and unfortunately no story for us to engage with. There is a trend throughout the production in which a social issue is announced, then left untouched and instead replaced with a stream of consciousness that – while trying to discuss emotional experiences – leads nowhere.
To claim to be a piece that discusses mental health and the emotional fabric of contemporary gender identity, then present such a thin and directionless performance, makes the work appear self-indulgent. By being so far removed from reality and without fully confronting its presented social problems, Alpha Who? comes across as insincere in its message and potentially disrespectful.
Photo: Saverio Tonoli
Camden Fringe 2019: Alpha Who? is at the Cockpit Theatre from 7th until 9th August 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
For further information about Camden Fringe 2019 visit the festival website here.