Punch & Judy - Live at the Seaside
New: Punch & Judy DVD. Reviewed by Ray DaSilva. Dec 2009
The menu says ‘Live at the Seaside plus extras’. I discovered that the ‘extras’ were rather like some desserts: just as good as or even better than the savoury course.
The main dish is a complete performance by Glyn Edwards on the Promenade at Aberystwyth showings close-ups of the puppets interpolated with vociferous reactions to their slapstick antics by a good size standing crowd. Despite counter attractions and noises-off, they certainly enjoyed the show and responded with great enthusiasm –between licking their ice-creams. The one thing I missed was somebody collecting the dosh. I know that Mary Edwards usually acts as bottler, and audience warmer-upper with some walk-about marionettes before the main attraction takes over. But, of course, this time, Mary was busily occupied with the camera, and it is very well done, not only of the shots of the crowd reactions but also providing the context with passing donkeys and motorbikes.
The first of the ‘extras’ is another complete performance by Glyn at night-time inside a fairground-style tent. The show follows the same structure as before and some of the bits of business are the same, yet the total result is different. This captive audience were certainly captivated, almost falling off their seats with laughter and responding in true pantomime tradition. I venture to suggest that anyone wanting to learn about the show should study these audience reactions. In any theatrical performance the audience plays an important role. Ignore the audience and the show becomes a rehearsal, but when everything is in tune and the partnership is right, magic is created –and it was on this occasion.
To round off the dessert, the last of the extras was a hark back to the archives. The celebration of Punch’s 325 celebrations in May 1987. It is a short sweetmeat (only two minutes) but powerfully sweet especially for anyone today who was there on that occasion. I watched it several times, (like stealing extra after-dinner mints). There was in quick succession the procession of Punches, Judys, and crocodiles –all of different sizes led by the Bournemouth Carnival Band all dressed as Punch; Master of Ceremonies George Speaight playing Samuel Pepys, the singing of Happy Birthday and the lighting of candles on a huge birthday cake.
Thank you Glyn and Mary for giving us such a satisfying meal.
This DVD can be obtained from the shop on the Punch & Judy Fellowship website. See link in right column -->