The Spider Glass @ theSpaceTriplex

A compelling monologue opening up the conversation of what it means to be a man in 2018

Review by Jon Stapley | 21 Aug 2018
  • The Spider Glass

The crises of toxic masculinity and male mental health affect everyone, and it’s a good time for men to be examining their own stories of masculinity and patriarchy. This one-man show, The Spider Glass, presents us with a single case study – James, a man somewhere between youth and middle-age. Sorting out his mother’s attic, James starts finding things that get him lost in reminiscence. His old school yearbooks. A Superman t-shirt. Recordings of the radio shows he used to make up with his best friend Josie. He pieces together his life for us with stories and fragments, and we grow to understand how much the notion of ‘being a man’ has damaged him.

James seems so typical, so generic a man, that he almost fades into the background of his own show. He did sports at school but wasn’t that sporty. He checks up on old school acquaintances via Facebook to compare receding hairlines. He goes on Tinder dates. He used to stash copies of FHM under his bed when he was a boy. It’s a thin cover though. You only have to scratch him a very little bit to see there’s an undercurrent of dark, violent misogyny lurking within him, and we see a litany of regrets and failures that have contributed to it. It’s diffuse but engaging, even if a few devices don’t work – the script takes odd little poetic digressions, occasionally lapsing into a strange rhyming metre that comes and goes without warning or explanation.

The question of what makes men behave the way they do is a big one, and writer/performer Craig Malpass is not trying to glibly answer it. The play is simply opening up a long-overdue dialogue, and doing it in a way that’s thoughtful and absorbing.

The Spider Glass, theSpaceTriplex (Studio), 3-25 Aug (not Sundays), 1:35pm, £7-8

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