Routines

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Routines

Postby CvdC » 20 Mar 2013, 20:40

In another posting lesclarke refers to "Conversations with Punch", a book of interviews with various significant performers compiled by one Geoff Felix. This prompted me to withdraw my copy from the bookshelf and have a bit of a read.

What I found interesting was to read Martin Bridle's classification of the different routines that often feature in Punch shows. His observation was that many performers often repeat what is essentially the same routine more than once within a show and that he prefers to keep to one routine of a kind per show.
He says "I don't think showmen analyse the routines"
So I thought for the purposes of analysing the routines here is a list of them:

Over here, over there routines. Puppets pop up in various places and audience shouts: "Behind you!"
Oh yes he did, oh no he didn't call and response.
Sliding puppets or objects across the stage. Includes the counting scene and can involve the baby and various objects such as a pillow.
Fighting with sticks. A good stick fight can be like a juggling act and drumming combined. As Bridle points out, these are surprising not that common in Punch shows these days but is the basis of Chinese puppets and Neapolitan Pulcinella (Guaratelle).
Transformation routines. I guess there are all sorts of simple illusions that are possible with puppets on a stage.
False starts, where something is set up and then it goes wrong or is sabotaged in some way.
Tricking, where Punch or Joey tricks another puppet in some way. I guess these can often lead into an "oh yes he did, oh no he didn't" routine. Routines can be linked very closely.

I wonder if that list is comprehensive?

You could add "Old jokes." This is where you tell an oldy but a goody in a way that only a puppet could get away with. The video Les was commenting on by Eek has a very good example of this. Bridle also mentions a kind of self reference you often get with jokes about making the joke. (meta jokes?) You will see this in practice here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6LmZ0A1s9U where Judy makes a joke about the baby sitting joke. Which I guess is more of an aside than a routine as such.

I hope the book is still available?
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Re: Routines

Postby Trevek » 21 Mar 2013, 13:00

I think one of the things with "oldies' is that the audience often know the joke and delay their reaction, even though they know the punchline (and it's so old they patched the Ark with 2nd edition of the script) .

I think having old, corny jokes which everyone has heard before (in moderation, at least) is something the audience expect.
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Re: Routines

Postby CvdC » 23 Mar 2013, 02:17

The last refuge of an old joke could be puppets. Or maybe it's Christmas crackers.
I like Basil Fox. A simple "boom boom" and you can revitalise any old joke. Not to forget the Monty Python technique of adding life to the risque with a "nudge nudge wink wink say no more."

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Re: Routines

Postby Trevek » 24 Mar 2013, 17:36

CvdC wrote:The last refuge of an old joke could be puppets.


Some would say the House of Lords.

I used to love Basil Brush. Haven't seen him recently.

I think the modern version of "boom, boom" is the "pa-dum, tsssshhhh" drum roll and cymbal clash.

Of course, there is also the practice of taking the old joke as far as you can and then changing the ending/punchline. The familiarity lowers their guard and the change is often greeted with delight at having been suckered.
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Re: Routines

Postby Professor Eek » 25 Mar 2013, 15:21

For example ... my dog has no nose.

How does he smell?

I have no idea but his glasses keep sliding off his face.







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Re: Routines

Postby CvdC » 27 Mar 2013, 12:06

Eek that is just the best joke. I did literally laugh out loud. (LOL)
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Re: Routines

Postby Professor Eek » 27 Mar 2013, 16:07

I fank ewe ... catch the show .. I'm ere all week ...try the steak ...
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Re: Routines

Postby Harvey » 30 Mar 2013, 23:53

A good freind of mine does the counting routine but with sausages and monkey tricks mr punch by swapping them round.
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Re: Routines

Postby Trevek » 02 Apr 2013, 14:19

Who nose why Eek's nose is only 11 inches long?
Cos if it was 12, it wouldn't be a nose, it'd be a foot.
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Re: Routines

Postby CvdC » 14 Apr 2013, 06:14

In a moment of reverie I did think of another routine: Dodging
This is where a puppet, usually Joey the Clown, pops up here and there. It is not the "behind you" type routine but rather relies on fast movement of the puppets. In the same book John Alexander recommends the use of side and front openings which can be put to good use in this routine.

It can also involve Punch taking swings at Joey with his stick and Joey ducking away with the stick hitting the stage instead.

Additionally there is a nice bit of business you will see employed by George Prentice in the Santa Claus video which involves Punch taking a swing at a puppet but the puppet grabs the stick hits Punch and then gives the stick back, all in one clean sweep. In a sense this is an elaboration of the dodging routine.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNU5lvrIeGY
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