Uppercut: a new musical caught my eye for many reasons. Firstly, the bold but simple branding used on the album is very striking (there’s a pun in there if you try hard enough) with the cartoon glove being essential to the inclusion of boxing but also the font itself made me think of a cartoon comedy in some senses. Secondly, in my experience boxing in musical theatre has a very complicated history as sometimes performers can almost make a mockery of the sport in an attempt at comedy and entertainment (and we are not going talk about how Lola the professionally trained boxers loses both the fights she gets into during the course of kinky boots.) However, both of my assumptions were very wrong! The show is a very serious musical that talks about very important relevant life lessons with very few jokes or gags while using the sport of boxing to add to the tension and drama each character is facing themselves.
The story follows the lead character Clio as she prepares for the biggest fight of her life which happens in about three months. Due to this big event, Clio has to learn how to control her emotions of anger, jealousy and inadequacy. This musical is a lot more serious than I originally expected as it covers used such as the fairness of social media, mental health in women and personal development which obviously I really enjoyed as these are topics that are oftentimes not openly discussed. The soundtrack is short with only a few songs and in total coming in at only twenty-five minutes which may be due to it being performed at the Edinburgh fringe festival (which would also explain the wider themes and topics discussed.) despite the heaviness and seriousness of the themes explored, this musical moves fairly quickly and I imagine is a fun watch that makes you think which is the type of show I really enjoy.
By far my favourite number in this entire music was the opening song titled gloves. This song starts with a gradual fade of voice joining on top of each other which are all boxing vocabulary such as cross, jab etc. I can easily imagine this being staged with spotlights of the actors as they add their word to the mix and the song builds in a super competitive and intense way perfectly suited to the nature of this musical. Melis who plays the role of Clio in this performance is clearly a very talented performing and was given the ability to showcase this throughout the soundtrack. I particularly enjoyed “Anybody else” which is an important song about not comparing yourself to others. This was a beautiful song with a really important message but it was very repetitive that did become somewhat tiresome after a while. One of my other favourites in this musical was a song called “Can You Hear Me” which was an incredibly moving song about dealing with the loss of a loved one. This song was beautifully performed and would move if the most stone-hearted person to tears!
Overall, this was a more serious and personal musical than I originally expected from the branding used but it deals with super important issues that are often not discussed. It’s easy to listen to and a short musical soundtrack that has a range of musical genre within it which makes it very easy to get through. I would rate this soundtrack 4 out of 5 stars!