Boys Who Punch Holes in Walls

Aug 22 2022 | By More

★★★☆☆       Heartfelt

PBH’s Free Fringe @ CC Blooms (Venue 171): Sat 20 – Sun 28 Aug 2022
Review by Yvonne Paterson

Lex Joyce’s Boys Who Punch Holes in Walls debuts at CC Blooms as part of PBH’s free fringe and explores what it means to be a “man” in a modern world that is full of social media bubbles, sexualisation and toxic masculinity.

A heated argument ensues while friends Kieran and Max are getting ready for Kieran’s girlfriend Astrid’s Glitzy party. Max is enthusiastic and completely comfortable in his glitzy make up, jeans and David Bowie crop top but Kieran is reluctant, dressed in his joggers and Hibs football top.

Archie Beattie and Ewan Little. Pic:Tom Duffin. 

From the off Kieran is against the idea and Max’s suggestion that Kieran put on some sparkly makeup triggers him into a rage. He refuses to look like some sort of “freak” sparking an argument and testing their friendship.

Lex Joyce’s script is a wonderful piece of writing that flows extremely well. Honest and heartfelt, it is not afraid to get to the nitty gritty of suppressed emotions and feelings, yet has a sense of humour whilst doing so, making it believable.

Archie Beattie brings the right amount of aggression to the role of Kieran as he wrestles with the inner turmoil of being the man he thinks he should be. You can really feel his anguish and bottled up emotion as he questions why it’s not ok to be manly anymore.

damaging effect

Kieran tries to validate his actions and feelings, but is oblivious to the fact that in the past they have had a damaging effect on his friendship with Max. Kieran’s need to be seen as one of the lads meant that he never stuck up for his best friend when the lads were making homophobic jokes about Max.

Beattie’s believable performance keeps you engaged as he softens and realises that he has always been afraid to stand by Max or veer away from the unspoken rules of being a man in fear of being ridiculed

Ewan Little offers an honest performance as Max. Little has a good presence on stage and is interesting to watch, his comic timing works to his advantage, making Max accessible and real as he opens up about how he feels and that, although Kieran accepts that he is gay, Max believes he has to act less gay around him.

With engaging performances from both actors this really draws you in, helped by the small intimate venue. However, the stage is only slightly raised, creating an issue with sight lines – especially when the actors are sitting on the floor. Which is a real shame as, under the direction of Joyce and Katherine Armstrong, there are some wonderful moments shared between the two friends.

Boys Who Punch Holes in Walls is definitely a worthwhile watch. A production that flows extremely well which has you invested in the characters. It’s hard not to come away from this production without feeling positive.

Running time: 55 minutes (no interval)
PBH’s Free Fringe @ CC Blooms, 23-24 Greenside Place, EH1 3AA (Venue 171)
Saturday 20 – Sunday 28 August 2022
Daily: 13:45
Tickets and details: See here.

NB: This is part of the PBH Free Fringe. Tickets are issued on a first-come-first-served basis at the venue. Entry is free; Exit by voluntary donation.


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