Punchline | The Lantern Theatre, Brighton | Review


The Lantern Theatre, Brighton

Comedian Terry has arrived at a working men’s club in the north where once he was the headline act however he has now reached a career low and is reduced to introducing exotic dancers (strippers) and cover bands. In a career where the comedy world was dominated by men and racism and misogyny were standard procedure, Terry reminisces about his experiences working alongside some of the greats – Les Dawson, Tommy Cooper, Ken Dodd and Larry Grayson amongst others, and how his career never reached the dizzy heights that theirs did. As time moved on his style of comedy was soon eclipsed by the new Alternative Comedy scene.

As Terry prepares to go on stage, changing from his civvies into black tie, he talks about comedy, his life on the road and on stage. Gradually Terry reveals not only how his career has changed but also his private life in a tragic-comic tale of clubland life and domestic abuse.

Punchline is an entirely new play by Andrew Kay whose first play I Will Survive won the drama competition at the Word On Worthing literary festival. His second play Morning Glory opened at The Two Brewers in London before having a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was revived at the Theatre Royal, Brighton’s studio format season for two sell out performances which elicited great reviews.

Punchline stars Coronation Street legend Brian Capron, whose career on stage and TV has seen him in hit series Grange Hill, Where The Heart Is, EastEnders and playing the iconic role of serial killer Richard Hillman in Corrie.

Capron’s performance is a tour-de-force. Subtle and understated, the poignancy and pathos of the play are beautifully balanced alongside some truly laugh out loud moments. He demonstrates all his experience to create a character that is genuine, warm, funny and pathetic in equal measures.

Kay’s play is a joy and it is expertly directed by Rupert Charmak. The 4 performances at the exquisite Lantern Theatre in Brighton were sold out however there is no doubt we will be seeing this play somewhere else very soon as it richly deserves an encore.


Reviewer: Patric Kearnes