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Observer Punch and Judy Review

Puch and Judy at Pod Deco by Susannah Clapp

Sunday August 15, 2004 The Observer

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,1283284,00.html


The Tiger Lillies, the wild vocal talents behind Shockheaded Peter,

have now determined to rescue Mr Punch from his role as children's

performer by revealing his grown-up gruesomeness. Flanked by a strummer

in a trilby and pinafore dress, and a drummer in a butcher's overall,

Martyn Jacques, got up in Punch costume, shuffles along like an old

woman with bound feet playing piano, accordion and banjo and singing in

his keening falsetto - sometimes a screech, sometimes smooth as satin -

always spitting out his nastiness ('I murder cats') with exaggerated

genteel diction.


 Puppets perform the story: 'Mummy,' screams Jacques and a

head-scarfed momma puppet bobs across a screen, 'is in a mental home,'

he continues, and the puppet whips round to show she's in a

straitjacket. A huge inflatable Judy has a horrendous labour.


 Punch meets the devil (a perky glove puppet) and bashes him to

death, leaving the scarlet pulp of his brains to drip over the side of

the podium. This isn't an operetta, not only because the staging is

crude, but because there's only one voice, with no light and shade or

buoyancy. And yet the notes, mental and vocal, that it strikes are

penetrating.

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