Although Punch and Judy is seen by most as children’s entertainment just as a magic show or clown show might be, it was originally a show for adults. Today Punch and Judy certainly does appeal to adults for a variety of reasons.
- They love to watch the expressions on the kid’s faces, to see the children smiling and laughing
- They secretly like to join in with the ripostes ( and some join in very enthusiastically )
- For some of the older generation it is nostalgic and reminds them of holidays at the seaside
- They are intrigued by the puppets
- They appreciate the skill of the ” professor ” in working the figures / engaging the audience
- Punch often brings back childhood memories
- They are familiar with Punch and Judy
Whenever I perform Punch and Judy at public events I nearly always have adults coming up afterwards and telling me how much they enjoyed the show. Sometimes they say that they haven’t seen Punch and Judy for donkeys years. Some are curious and ask me questions about the puppets or the voices. If they are really interested I may let them have a look inside the puppet booth. This always goes down well as most have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.
From time to time I am booked to perform to an all adult audience. I have done this for student events, 40th, 50th and 60th birthday parties and I even went to an all night ” RAVE ” once ( not something I would normally attend ).
You will appreciate that the content and presentation of a show for adults is quite different to the show I do for children. The Adult Punch and Judy show is very coarse, in fact it can definitely be described as blue!
One of the funniest moments I had was performing the adult version at a gentleman’s sixtieth birthday party. It was a rather grand party held in a lovely marquee in the grounds of a fine house. No expense had been spared. Apparently the gentleman had always been a fan of Punch and Judy so my show was a special treat. I was set up in the corner next to the band. The guests mingled, enjoying drinks and ca-nopes. A very nice crowd of well dressed folk engaging in polite conversation whilst the band played relaxing music in the background.
When it was time for the show I asked the lady who had booked me if I should proceed. She was chatting with a little group of extremely nice ladies. ” Yes, please ” she said ” and you are going to do the blue version aren’t you ” I hesitated as I had not been expecting this. I had a quick look round the room. I knew that my normal show would be perfect for this group. ” Are you sure ” I enquired. ” Yes, we want the adult version don’t we ladies ” I hesitated again. ” Are you really sure that’s what you want ” The reply was affirmative.
I gave the band the nod, slipped into the booth, started the music and launched into the show with full gusto.The vicars not going to like this I thought.
My shows are always full of vigour which is how a good Punch and Judy Show should be. I always try and give it my all. The adult version is no exception and so there is a lot of bad language, sexual innuendo, violence, crudity, insults and appalling behaviour.
The initial reaction from my very refined audience was initially…SHOCK!… but then… as most had quaffed a reasonable amount of bubbly the barriers came down and soon many of them were joining in ( I’m not sure about the vicar ) I think the lady who booked me very nearly passed out as she was soon hammering on the side of the puppet theatre in a panic asking me to tone it down.
I have to say that I don’t enjoy gross vulgarity myself. I don’t think you need it to be funny but it has become an essential ingredient for modern comedians. The only time I resort to this is in my Adult Punch and Judy Show.
When I finished my show and emerged from the booth the band leader said ” They won’t forget his party in a hurry ”
The lady thanked me saying she didn’t know what to expect and apologised for panicking. As for the birthday boy. He had a great time !
So if you fancy something different for an adult party, give me a call but be warned. It’s strictly over 18’s and it’s no holes barred !