Note: This review is from the 2023 Fringe

Matty Hutson dives right into his act, wasting no time. He exemplifies exactly what ‘musical comedy’ is with a quick run-through of some of his ‘hits’ you might have heard in online viral videos, and the show is off to a fun start.

Early signs indicate that key themes of the set are friendship and loneliness, and Hutson’s application to be a new member of a drill gang sets the light-hearted, wacky tone. He excels in crowd-work and his interactions with the audience are punctuated with pre-programmed vocoder soundbites that tickle us with their silliness. It’s warm and jovial and still manages to continue the running idea of Hutson’s search for new friends.

The show does become a little disjointed at times, jumping from subject to subject with some technical slip-ups peppered throughout. Tonight’s audience are forgiving, though, and happily await the next musical interlude to pull us back in. ‘A Song About a Wild Evening’ is a particular highlight. It’s witty and surprising and oddly touching and highlights the comic’s impressive musical skills.

In ‘Don’t Hold Back’, Hutson is at his best when he goes in for outrageous punchlines and edgier subjects. Some of the earlier jokes are sweet and cheeky but don’t provoke the biggest responses of the night. Eventually, we move towards more probing songs about therapy and self-acceptance, full of clever rhymes and effective rug-pulls. These are the highlights and the feature that have made Hutson so deservedly successful.

‘Don’t Hold Back’ runs until Sun 27 Aug 2023 at Pleasance Courtyard – The Attic at 19:15