Little Waldingfield History Society was delighted to welcome Peter Batty to the Parish Room where he regaled us with a host of stories collected over many years as a Punch & Judy man, both from presenting the shows and from close association with other Punch men, or Professors.
Peter demonstrated how the puppets are traditionally made, then assembled his trademark stripey seaside booth before introducing the many characters one by one, showing us where each was placed in the booth before unleashing a great traditional show which took everyone present back to their happy childhood roots amid fits of laughter and audience participation.
Peter then mentioned some of the daft comments made by the politically correct brigade and how this has changed over time, noting that Punch performers adapted shows to the spirit of their age:
Peter wryly observed that Mr. Punch reminds critics slapstick is the weapon that gave its name to physical comedy; it is the clown's weapon used to assault each other and the dignity of opponents.
Everyone agreed this was our most entertaining evening to date, with an action-packed story following the antics of Mr Punch, Judy and the baby, Joey the clown, the policeman, the sausage-eating crocodile, the hangman (aka Jack Ketch), the devil and many more; all in all, a rare treat, as the following comment demonstrates: Dear Hon Sec: Just to say how much we enjoyed last night. Best so far. Keep up the good work.
The subject of our next talk will be Suffolk Poachers and Smugglers, at 7.30 pm on February 13th at the LW Parish Room, which will be presented by William Tyler. Additionally, and as a special treat for LWHS members only, there will be a free craft event, with cheese and wine, on January 16th, again at 7.30 pm in the Parish Room.
Andy Sheppard 6th December 2012