- Based: Sussex
- Website: www.punch-and-judy.com
I’ve worked hand in glove with Mr. Punch for over five decades, written two books about him, made a film celebrating him, curated exhibitions about him, given lectures about him, organised festivals showcasing him, helped start organisations promoting him, been asked by the media countless times to explain him and taught numerous students the basics of performing with him - yet like a will o’ the wisp he still remains tantalisingly beyond the reach of accurate description.
He’s an enduring spark of mischief, a little Lord of Misrule presiding with his slapstick over a world turned upside down where – as Alice discovered in Wonderland - things just get curiouser and curiouser.
Punch has many guises too. He can be a children’s entertainer in the nursery, a sardonic commentator for adults in theatres, a family entertainer on street corners and beaches, and an icon of anarchy for the avant garde. His shape shifting ability keeps him fresh down the years. The Punch of today isn’t the Punch of the early Victorians or the one seen by Samuel Pepys. He’s not capering about in the past satirising life as lived in times long gone. He is the Punch of right now, keeping just outside the rules of society that his current audience recognises. And in that sense he is timeless.
I was once even dubbed ‘a Punch & Judy Rock Star’ in a review. I was flattered of course but really I’m just one of his sidekicks along for the ride.”
I’ve performed with Mr. Punch to just about every kind of British audience at venues from Brighton Pier to the Warden’s Lodgings of New College, Oxford and from a travelling funfair in the Midlands to the V&A. I’ve pitched my booth on beaches, village greens, in shopping malls, museums, stately homes, private homes, public houses and public festivals. Outside the UK I’ve taken Mr. Punch to the streets of Naples and Paris, the British Embassy in Moscow and to gigs in the Middle East, the USA and Japan.
I was once even dubbed ‘a Punch & Judy Rock Star’ in a review. I was flattered of course but really I’m just one of his sidekicks along for the ride. It’s Punch’s own mesmerising charisma that enchants his followers and both baffles and infuriates his critics.
He still lives up to the description given by a Victorian showman over a hundred and fifty years ago as “one of the greatest novelties in the world” - sentiments expressed by one young well wisher writing to him after a school visit last year as “Mr. Punch. You are COOOOOOL!”