Home » London Theatre Reviews » Matty Hutson: Don’t Hold Back – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

Matty Hutson: Don’t Hold Back – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023

Matty Hutson has spent some years trying to stand out from the crowd, and while he didn’t want to focus too much on mental and psychological well-being, he’s also not ashamed to tell his audience that not only has he undergone therapy, but he also found it quite useful. There is, he says, such a thing as trying too hard to be different, in the sense that there comes a point at which one doesn’t actually achieve anything meaningful in ongoing and relentless attempts to be noticed.

Matty Hutson. Credit Ben Wood.There were the usual greetings, salutations and conversations with people in the front row. Being in the penultimate row I was blissfully ignored, save for a smattering of audience interaction for everyone in the room. Regular readers will know I draw a distinction between ‘interaction’ and ‘participation’ – and here, it’s the nice kind of interaction, where nobody gets called out for not joining in. Pre-recorded sung responses to contributions made by the front row were surprisingly amusing, particularly given, by definition, how generic the responses were. But there came a point in which a same-sex couple were answering a question from Hutson about how they met. Looking at his list of responses, he decided they were all “too heteronormative”, which in itself probably raised a louder laugh from the audience than any of the available options.

Hutson reveals his thoughts on a wide range of topics, from losing his hair to the unfair reputation killer whales have. After all, humans have killed more whales than the other way around. Trying to see things from a different perspective was a running theme, largely realised through a number of parody lyrics that imagined what would happen if the people sung about in certain songs had the right of reply. They were, by and large, pretty good, and while the temptation to regurgitate one or two is strong – it would be too much of a spoiler, suffice to say it’s difficult to disagree with Hutson’s hypothesis about whether Jolene was even remotely interested in the first place with regards to taking Dolly Parton’s man.

The range of musical styles is impressive – some sort of infusion of folk and hip-hop (or at least I think that’s what it was) had me in stitches. Hutson, guitar strapped to his person, a keyboard in front of him as well as loop pedals and a mixing deck, really is a one-man band in this show. I haven’t a clue what the takeaway message was supposed to be, or even if there was one. But this warm and engaging performance stands in pleasant contrast to more aggressive comedy acts on The Fringe.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Armed with his trusty guitar and as many other instruments as he can fit into a suitcase (a digital sampler, a vocal transformer and various egg shakers and tambourines), Matty Hutson is set to secure his position as one of the most distinct and exciting acts on the UK comedy circuit. Demonstrating his talent for a wide range of musical styles, he will take his audiences on a hilarious, emotional and lyrical promenade through themes from masculinity and sensitivity to ageing, love, and connection.

VENUE: The Attic, Pleasance Courtyard (venue 33), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ
DATES: Wednesday 2nd – Sunday 27th August 2023 (no show Monday 14th August)
TIME: 7:15pm (60mins)
AGE GUIDANCE: 16+ recommended

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