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Travelling with a Punch & Judy show - An appreciation by Geoff Felix

"To coincide with the 25th Anniversary of the Punch & Judy Judy Fellowship in 2005, Des Turner produced a one hour DVD that celebrates Punch and some of the shows. This was an ongoing project for some years and Des spent a great deal of time, money and care on what has been a labour of love.

The film takes us to Harrogate, Birmingham, Aberystwyth and the Covent Garden May Fayre and contains excerpts of some of Des's favourite shows. These include Brian Davey's baby being rocked in the cradle and policeman routines, Clive Chandler's policeman, crocodile and devil, Glyn Edwards' policeman and devil and Dan Bishop's crocodile and baby which changes expression.

Des then travels to Kessingland, the home of Bryan and Dorothy Clarke, where Bryan talks about his life as a Punch man and shows us puppets by Wal Kent and Fred Tickner. We also see his baby routine and boxing match. The film ends with Des himself performing the crocodile and hanging routines.

I was particularly pleased to see so many excerpts from the shows because this gives a flavour of the different styles all within the tradition. To hear Bryan Clarke talking about old showmen and seeing photos gives a real feel of the history. It was also poignant to see the faces of those friends who have now left us. My abiding memory of this film is the sound of the Swazzle accompanied by laughter. They seem to go together.

I’m sure those buying this DVD will appreciate all the work that is involved in producing it, even more so when you consider that all the contributors gave their services so generously for free. This is a real bargain. Anyone hoping to learn how to do the show will benefit a great deal by watching these performers at work."

Geoff Felix