Emma Clarendon chatted to Robert about starring in Punchy! The Musical at The Courtyard Theatre.

(c) Guido De Maria Photography.

Hi Robert – could you tell us what we can expect from Punchy? Punchy is such a wonderful story of self discovery, you can expect a tale of love, loss and grief, drunken debauchery and crime, dealing with your inner demons and figuring out some of life’s hardest lessons. All set in 1950’s London with a brilliant live sound track that pulls you into our world we have created.

What was it that made you want to be involved with this production? I initially wanted to be a part of this project because of the story – that’s usually where it starts for me as an actor. I read the script through and could very much relate to a person that is overly defensive and repellent of any external help because they’re trying to “figure it all out” by themselves. I could see the layers that George (Punchy) had to him and knew he just needed to be played with justice, this is a character that is very vulnerable and lost in the world and he could easily be played as a very unlikable guy and so I wanted to jump on board to give my take on him to help portray the depth he has to him. I believe we either all have been or at least know a Punchy in our lives so I think it’s a very relatable story for an audience to watch and see where they are on their own journeys.

How would you describe your character, George? I would describe George aka Punchy as a guy who has been dealt a pretty bad hand in life and is dealing with a lot of guilt and negative thoughts. We see him from the get go a little lost in the world, unaware of where to turn to and reluctant to listen to any solid advise, truly believing he is unlovable and un-worthy of any affection. Gradually through different circumstances and some careful navigation of listening to either his Ego or his Soul, a change begins within him and he begins his own journey of self discovery to realise his potential and what’s important to him, removing those self doubts and negative thoughts bit by bit.

What can we expect musically from the show? Musically you can expect a wonderful band with various flavours of songs, from a soul number to rock. It’s a very eclectic vibe and the band fit perfectly with the story of the play, acting as our very own pub band – known by all the locals and forming very much a part of our little London community. The music is integral to the piece and really is the spine of the whole story, taking us through right from the get go and helping guide the play along. We have not gone down the mainstream route of musicals so if you’re expecting jazz hands and leotards I’m afraid you’ll be very much disappointed!

How does it feel to be bringing the show to the Courtyard Theatre? I had heard of the Courtyard Theatre before but hadn’t personally been and it’s a well known gig venue which works well for “Punchy!” Since what we are putting on is essentially ‘gig theatre’ – Billie Eilish had her first headline concert there apparently so we’re in safe hands!

What are you enjoying the most being involved with Punchy? I’d have to say I have enjoyed the team the most – all of the cast, our brilliant director Tiffany King and the incredible musical talent that is Jack Terroni, along with the whole crew and the band have made the entire process so enjoyable and really made a safe place to create and play as artists and it’s been an open forum for us all to give our own ideas and really own the piece as an ensemble.

By Emma Clarendon

Punchy continues to play at The Courtyard Theatre until the 21st November.