Punchy The Musical
03 November 2021
The Courtyard Theatre
3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Punchy! the musical is a brand new production that I was lucky enough to see in Hoxton at the Courtyard Theatre. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for musicals. However, right from the start I need to tell you, I wouldn’t classify this as a musical at all.
Sure, it has a live band on stage and is accompanied by some beautiful songs, but to me, a musical has the main characters breaking out in song and dance to convey their feelings and advance the plot. However, in Punchy! it was mostly the band doing the singing, apart from one of the main characters who did sing a song and a half, but it still felt more like the musical accompanied the story rather than it being a true musical. That being said, I really enjoyed the show once I tried to perceive it as a play rather than a musical.
Punchy! is set in the early 1950s, where the titular character tries to find his way in post-war London, struggling with his past and figuring out his hopes for the future. He encounters his Ego and his Soul as real characters, only visible to himself, trying to guide him but not always having the best advice. The story is lovingly woven and advances at a natural pace, seeing Punchy go through breakups, fight for love, struggle with his personal history and that of his family, figuring out who his friends are and what path he wants to take. The characters are very compelling and interesting, seeming life-like and nuanced.
The story of a young man at a crossroads, beautifully outlined with music and a few small dance numbers. An extremely simple, bare-bones set is used very effectively by the small cast as well. As mentioned above, I wouldn’t call it a musical myself, but as an atmospheric play, it has a lot of character and depth and did really touch me. It will be very interesting to see this show evolve and find its feet.