The May Fayre 2016

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The May Fayre 2016

Postby Chris » 09 May 2016, 22:41

As usual this was a splendid event, and this year very special in several ways. Firstly the sun shone, the warmest day of the year. Some were moaning that it was too hot! Oh dear, you just can't please everyone can you?
The day was also marked by being the first May Fayre to feature the newly formed Punch & Judy Club founded by a group of top class Punch & Judy performers. Check them out at

We were also treated to the launch of a new book by Geoff Felix. This one, "Inside the Booth" aims to concentrate on areas that are not well covered in other books. It is a very good read and certainly Geoff, as well as being knowledgeable about the history of Punch, is a very good and very experienced performer. He has a lot of advice to offer and this advice is based on his considerable experience. Anyone planning to perform Punch must surely read this book. It costs £20 which is a lot more than we are used to paying for cut-priced paperbacks in the supermarket, but it is not a lot to pay for a specialist book produced in small quantities for a restricted market. It is not a lot to pay for the opinions and advice of an expert. You can contact Geoff here

Another treat was the handywork of Chris Drewitt who arrived with the most beautifully painted Punch proscenium on his new very big booth. Occasional collector David Wilde owns not only some of Roselia's wonderfully carved puppets but also owns the huge, ornately painted original Proscenium. It was this wonderful Proscenium that Chris asked permission to reproduce. The heraldic drawing, the lettering and the paint quality are all superb, quite astonishingly good. David remarked that in some ways it was almost better than the original!

After all the booths were folded the host of Britain's leading Punch men, a brilliant Guiniol player and Austin, a very clever Vent maker from the US, descended for a Carvery Meal at the nearby Strand Palace Hotel. This is becoming something of a tradition.

If you were'nt there you missed a very happy event.
It's good to squawk!
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Re: The May Fayre 2016

Postby Richard Coombs » 10 May 2016, 00:14

A splendid Review of the day Chris , Thank You for posting it

It was great to see you there.

True enough it is exciting to be able to say that folk had come from Austria and America and the Netherlands especially for for Mr Ps Birthday bash. And Chris-V-d-C although not there this year, regularly makes the long trip from Australia.
But it is also worth mentioning that you travel down each year from Wales , which means a Train Fare and a Hotel Bill.
And a good many others trek equally great distances from all over the UK

Peoples dedication to 'being there' on the day - rain or shine - is quite extraordinary.
And for those of us who perform there , the army of Punch Fanatics ( or Fun-Addicts ) are what make doing our shows at Covent Garden such a thrill.

I would urge any readers of this board who are Punch fans and have not yet managed to attend a Mayfayre to book next years into their diaries.

Maggie at Alternative Arts has already confirmed the date : Sunday 14th May 2017

Daniel Hanton posted a link to a massively comprehensive gallery of photographs from yesterday.
The link was on the Punch and Judy Facebook page , but was freely offered for all to look at , so I am sure he won't mind me duplicating the link here :

As Chris said it was HOT ( and yep i was one of the old miseries complaining , as I don't do well in the heat )
During Geoffs show a member of the public was overtaken by heat stroke and had to be attended by the Vicar and first aiders , and then taken away in an ambulance.

I was surprised - and pleased- that no Punch performers fainted in their booths mid-show, as temperatures inside the tents always feel more intense than outside.

Anyhow , it was indeed a memorable day.
New Club
New Book
New Prosceniums
And a chance to meet up with friends who are wonderful because that are NOT new ..but rather Old and Dear.

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Re: The May Fayre 2016

Postby Andrew Clarkson » 10 May 2016, 23:45

Thank you both for your reviews - they are very much appreciated and add extra clarity to the fabulous photos I've seen. It was clearly a fabulous day. Well done to all involved. I look forward to reading Geoff's latest book.

Best wishes to all,

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Re: The May Fayre 2016

Postby » 13 May 2016, 15:37

Thank you, Chris, for your review and your kind words.
If anyone would like to buy the book, they can send me £21-97 (this includes £1-27 postage and 70p packing) and I will send it by first class post. In Europe the postage is £3-70, in the U.S.A. it is £4-75 and in Japan it is also £4-75. For recorded delivery, please contact me. My address is 111, Raglan Court, Empire Way, Wembley Park, Middx. HA9 0RG. A cheque is good. I hope to do PayPal soon. - Best wishes, Geoff.

To avoid confusing Mr. Postman, If writing please address to Geoff Felix rather than Geoff.London!
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Re: The May Fayre 2016

Postby James » 16 May 2016, 15:30

A great review of a really enjoyable day. Thanks Chris! Really good to see Chris D's magnificent new proscenium, all of Richard C's new novelty characters, and some first class performances. Perhaps most enjoyable is the chance to catch up with old friends, some of whom travel great distances to attend.

Here's a snap of some of the survivors after the meal that evening.


A great time was had by all!
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