Punch and Judy …..

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As the summer comes to an end and boy hasn’t it been a super sunny few months…. let me take you on a trip down memory lane …. There is a light weight booth painted with red and white strips and a heavy red velvet curtain hiding the show from site until a puppet appears ….and we all sit gripped by the unfolding story ….

This structure became an iconic feature at the beaches of many towns in the Victorian era with many gathering on the sands waiting patiently in front of the large clock for the show to begin!!!

One puppeteer, a funny voice and a load of audience participation was the key to this wonderfully slightly adapted 16thcentury entertainment venue ….. my memory of a show like this was watching it with my mum on the lawn at Upton House.

The show was originally targeted at adults but subtle changes were made in the Victorian era with the removal of the Devil and Mr punch’s mistress pretty Polly …these characters were deemed inappropriate for the ever increasing younger audience….

As pleased as punch derives from the cheeky devilish character of Punch himself … a sense of gleeful self-satisfaction was present in all that he achieved ….

Punch was a trickster and the story as we know it was that good would conquer evil… Punch always got his punishment with the policeman taking punch away ….this was not the case in the earlier years of punch and Judy when as an adult show it was sinister, sexy and highly political….

Along with Punch and Judy, ( once known as Joan because the swazzle sounded better calling Judy) the cast also included

A string of sausages

That poor baby

The crocodile  …

The good old constable

Joey the clown and the skeleton neither which I recall their story lines

and the doctor ……

but the lesser seen characters seen in the 21stcentury are toby the dog, the ghost, the lawyer, hector horse, pretty Polly, the hangman (aka jack ketch), the devil and Jim crow (the Blackman)…..

I was thinking about the characters I remembered especially the hang man and Jim crow and I thought about why or how I had forgotten them …

The feelings I remember having as a kid were excitement, anticipation, fear, worry….….

And now as an adult ,if I were to watch the show again I think I would be filled with all the above but also a considerable amount of anger concern hope and faith, emotions I have grown to feel the older I have become …..

Punch seemed to be a rather naughty character and carried a slap stick as big as himself.

He would hit the crocodile with it whenever it appeared on stage as it tried to steal the baby from him put into his care by Judy … ….but he also threw the baby about, back and forth …the kids shouting really loud for Judy whenever this happened ….

“That’s the way to do it” were the words left hanging in the air followed by his iconic gleeful cackle… naughty Mr punch!!!

The policeman would come plodding onto the stage asking the audience what they had seen  …Judy  would appear understandably concerned over the crying baby , but her husband looking like butter wouldn’t melt got away with time and time again ….

you must have your own memories and interpretations of the stories of punch and Judy but the story is always the same  !!!

So where am I going with this somewhat waffly information!!!

How many stories do we remember or that will tell simply because of the events that are told…

The Cinderella story wouldn’t be the story we recognise without an invitation to a ball or the handsome prince ….that beautiful glass slipper being left behind as the clock chimed 12 and the awful behaviour of the ugly sisters and the wicked stepmother …..

but we mustn’t forget that little bit of magic from the fairy godmother …the bit of magic in life that we sometimes fail to see because we are charging through life at 100 miles an hour …

None of the key elements in Cinderella can be left out for the famous story to be told ….if they weren’t told it would be a completely different story …unrecognisable to us  ….

And the same principles apply to our own lives ….

Think about omitting elements of your life and then think about who you would be??

Our story’s take us on a journey, a journey that is filled with lessons meant just for us and these experiences are what makes us us …..

We all know a story will always need a beginning (your past) …a middle (the present ) and an end …(your future) and throughout your story there will be a subtle layering of good conquers evil, happiness overcomes sadness and  just like fairy tales  your story can have a happy ever after just because you have lived …..

So lets get living and write your story  but don’t forget to sprinkle it with magic…..

As punch says …that’s the way to do it !!!

love and light Kirsten xx

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