My on/off Punch button is currently set to ON as we approach the annual Covent Garden shenanigans where there are predicted to be around 40 Punch and Judy theatres performing in a madcap celebration of silliness. Following hard on the heels of the seriousness of the election, it will be a well-received affirmation of the triumph of anarchistic nonsense I’m sure! Putting to one side the show itself, a subject which has filled many a thesis, I was thinking about the peripheral stuff which Su and I have been involved with over the years, which I think have added a little spice to the recipe for success. Lately, I’ve been honoured to have supplied the voice of Punch to the mix of an outstanding new song from “Telling the Bees” called “A Puppeteer Came to Town” on their brand new CD “Steer by the Stars”.
Also, I’ve just completed a new animated hat for Su to wear at Covent Garden. A string is attached to her banjo/uke-strumming wrist, and the up and down action causes the crocodile’s jaw to open and close, snapping at the out-of reach sausages, while Punch hangs on for dear life on the croc’s back, swaying to and fro.
Su has a history of eccentric performance at Covent Garden, and she used to be a frequent sight bent over forwards with large P&J torsos strapped to her back, giving the impression of two figures dancing (pictured with music provided by myself, Rod Burnett and a small Leo Bridle). It was always a surprise to the audiences when she stood up at the end of the dance, to find one person beneath! She also performed it for the seminal TV documentary “Pleased as Punch” directed by Glyn Edwards.
Our booth made passing appearance in Neil Gaiman’s “Punch and Judy” graphic novel
And we had an overhead view of our show on Broadstairs beach in a book by David Gentleman:
Although we haven’t been performing Punch regularly for 25 years, preferring to concentrate on other aspects of visual theatre, we happily still get asked to do it all again for festivals all over the world. And as it seems right now that the world is even madder than ever, and is indeed “a world turned upside down” maybe Punch is indeed a reflection of the times in which we live.