HOW LONG IS YOUR SHOW?
The Punch and Judy show itself (the main event) is about 25 minutes but it’s a really flexible format so I adjust the length to suit the audience really. For younger kids (4- to 5-year-olds) I usually keep it around the 20-minute mark. At parties and fetes I typically do a short magic show (20-25 mins) before starting the puppet show. For public events I like to play a little circus music, do a pre-show routine, or talk a little about Punch and Judy themselves (depending on the occasion). I can also offer close-up or table magic before or after the show.
One of the highlights for many people is getting to meet Mr Punch up close and give him a ‘high five’ so I always try to to a walk around when possible.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
It depends on travel time, how many shows you want, whether I have to pay for parking, etc. Drop me an email or call and I’ll work out a price.
DO YOU DO SCHOOLS?
Absolutely! Have a Victorian Day coming up? Get in touch! Prof James will roll-up, roll-up to provide that authentic Punch and Judy experience!
DO YOU DO CHEAPER RATES FOR SCHOOLS AND HOSPITAL VISITS?
Of course. It goes without saying that a lot of hard-working facilities are facing tough times. Call or email me and we can discuss your budget.
DO YOU DO RETIREMENT HOMES?
CAN YOU DO SEVERAL SHOWS IN ONE DAY?
I can and do. Three is usually the magic number for a fete or fayre as that gives time for word to spread between performances but I’m happy to fit in a fourth should there be a high turnover of people.
WHAT IS A SLAPSTICK?
Mr Punch famously clonks the other puppets (and they clonk him back) with a slapstick. This is a long flat wooden instrument that makes a loud clapping noise. It is important to remember that a slapstick isn’t meant for hurting people; it is an over-the-top theatrical device with roots in 16th-century Italian theatre.
Artwork depicting Mr Punch with a club or bat is misrepresentative of the tradition.
HAVE PUNCH AND JUDY BEEN AROUND FOR A LONG TIME?
Oh yes indeed! On 9 May 1662 Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary:
‘Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw, and great resort of gallants.’
The ‘puppet play’ Samuel Pepys saw that day is considered to be a direct forerunner of the seaside Punch and Judy show we know and love so well. However, unlike today’s Punch and Judy, which is performed using glove puppets, this play was operated using marionettes (puppets controlled from above using wires and rods).
The show Pepys witnessed starred a charachter called Polichinello, a famous chararacter from Italian theatre who combined wit, sarcasam, and buffoonery – not a million miles away from the modern Mr Punch that can be seen at fetes and birthday parties all across the land to this very day.
Whilst it is not known exactly when Mr Punch and Co. made the switch from marionettes to glove puppets, we do know that several famous Punch and Judy tropes were in full effect right from the earliest days. These include the iconic squeaky voice, the encoounter with the devil, and the ‘big stick’!
SO WHAT IS THE NAME OF MR PUNCH'S DOG?
Most professors agree that his name is Toby. 🙂