Commissioned by Walker Art Centre, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Barbican

The Devil and Mister Punch


A tragic comedy of manslaughter and love

It’s Punch and Judy but as presented by Messrs Harvey and Hovey, a pair of broken vaudevillians who are now in the gutter and have been reduced to presenting a puppet show that goes wildly off-course.

The show was inspired by the early ‘unknown’ history of Punch and the desperate showmanship of the itinerant Medicine Shows and British music hall, all accompanied by the vibrant music of the jugband era.

Both tragical and comical, this show extends far beyond the physical constraints of a traditional Punch and Judy booth. Full of excitement and surprises it is a beautiful and dirty show about love and fighting.

Inside this shadowy world live a steaming crocodile, a parade of piggies, the devil and many other extraordinary characters. Featuring a lush score of bass fiddle, gin parlour piano, metronome and bells, the show was performed on a gloriously theatrical wood-panelled set.

The Devil and Mister Punch premiered at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in 2011, going on to the Barbican Centre, London in 2012.

The Devil and Mister Punch was supported by Pomegranate Arts.

Created by Julian Crouch, Rob Thirtle, Nick Haverson, John Foti, Saskia Lane, Jessica Scott, Seamus Maynard, Sarah Laux and Ragnar Freidank

Led by Julian Crouch in collaboration with US puppeteers from Basil Twist’s company and musicians from Dan Zanes and Friends, together with long term Improbable UK collaborators Nick Haverson and Rob Thirtle, and filmmaker Ragnar Friedank.






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