First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

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First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby martinpunch » 06 Apr 2014, 18:26

So I don't know if anyone would be interested, but I have to tell someone.
I did my first ever public Punch and Judy show last night and was not booed off!
The 20 or so children seem to like it, but like every bad tradesman I blame my tools.
Firstly I could not see the audiance or hear them ( in my rehursels at home I can hear my own kids so don't need to see them)
All the equipment is very amature an old box for the punch show and toy puppets.
But I am encoraged to have another go. My wife made an excruciating vidoe of the whole thing. :oops: which is really painful to watch. In the last act I have the punch head facing backwards throughout.
But no one got up and left and they was much laughter - so I guess that is what it's all about.
Kindest regards

Martin

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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby lesclarke » 07 Apr 2014, 10:20

Hi Martin, I'm sure plenty of people are interested. This board is going through a quiet patch recently, partly because so much of what can be said about Punch has been said here over the years, less posts but still people reading the board. And of course searching for a previous topic discussed, or just dipping in anywhere can raise interesting points for you to consider, often something you read here will it buried in your mind until
it becomes more relevant to what you are thinking about.

I am always interested to hear account of people's first show, and yours is still fresh in your mind. Heard the old phrase on the radio last week, it was in a scientific context, that you learn more from your mistakes that any easy success. It can be painful watching video of own show, but so much can be learned.

Punch shows are not easy, you are attempting to do several things at once. As a beginner you are also trying to remember you script and still learning to handle your puppets , if your 'tools' are hampering you, improve them, not in appearance, but workability, and the value of practice cannot be overstated. As the old footballers used to say train hard and play easy.

As you say, nobody left, and the kids enjoyed it, I agree that's what it;s all about.

Being self critical is part of improvement, and I find that the adrenalin of performing early shows means that the good and bad parts of the performance stay in your mind, so try sitting quietly and running it through your mind, say the evening after a performance.

By the way, where are you based?

Al the best les
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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby Chris » 07 Apr 2014, 14:59

Another reason for the quietness of the Message Board is the fact that social media - Facebook and Twitter - have taken the place of it for some purposes. We no longer see the almost daily banter that was the norm a couple of years ago. Now the Message Board seems reserved for the more lengthy and more subject related postings. These of course take longer to write and therefore are less frequent. Perhaps this is a good thing. But if you feel in need of daily communion with fellow Punch men then James Arnott has set-up a Punch & Judy Facebook page which will surely be of interest. https://www.facebook.com/punchandjudypage Not only can you post, but also enjoy the feast of pictures.

But as Les points out, there are still plenty of people reading this Message Board, so if you want to communicate then you are sure of an audience.

And after that preamble, I should get to the point: Congratulations on your debut performance Martin. Don't be discouraged that the video your wife made is so painful to watch. After 50 years performing I still don't like to watch myself on video, there's always something that I know should have been better. In performance when you make a fluff you just dismiss it and get on with recovering the situation and the mistake is forgotten by you and by the audience, but when you see the embarrassing moment preserved on video there's nothing you can do to alter it. Nevertheless it is worth suffering because you can learn a lot from seeing your own mistakes.
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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby martinpunch » 08 Apr 2014, 21:15

Thank you for your encoraging replies, I am in Southsea and used to love the P&J show by the peir

I spoke with a six year old daughter of a friend today and asked her what she thought of the show - she said it was really funny and so did her friends. So a great review from the front row :D

I have tried sitting through the show and I have seen what has worked and where things were not so good

The positives
As stated above
plus
The pre-amble at the front worked well and I did get them all engaged first mostly with material nicked from Rod Burnett, but I carried it and it gave me a lot of leaway for what followed.
The policeman scene went the best- with the audiance absolutely screaming - there he is and that was the most fun for me.

The bits that were bit more negitive are
Once I moved on from the policeman scene I had become accostomed to the huge reactions from the crown and when there was silence during the next scene, which was completely origianal scripting from me (as I did not have a devil, a ghost, a hang man or a Joey) I introduced Claud the french policeman into the act and the dialogue did not run smoothly. I did have the good sense to cut to a fight and then do my end bit.

The DJ was really helpful giving me a radio mic to use and doing a great intro and extro. Plus he said that he did karaokee to kids parties fulltime and that the show was well recieved- he said the warm up was the key to it. Get them excited and you really only die if you choose to.

I am going to get the charaters I need and have another go - but it seems to take a bit of a commitment fiancially to make the quantum leap from what I did on Saturday to what you guys are doing.

But at least I have broken my slapstick cherry :lol:
Kindest regards

Martin

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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby Chris » 08 Apr 2014, 22:38

Well many of us started without much money. I made my own puppets - which I am still using - and built my own booth - which I am still using. When I started no puppeteer would think of buying puppets. Making them was part of the job. Of course nobody had spare cash in those days.

But even now it isn't all that expensive to start is it? It all depends upon where you spend your money. Many people seem to have very up to date smart phones - which cost more than a couple of puppets. And it constantly surprises me how many people have ipads - often more than one per household. The point I am making that people are prepared to spend on their electronic toys. I am sure a set of Punch figures can bring much more fun.

A set of puppets and a fit-up are a waste of money if you can't use them. A lot of magicians in the days of The Supreme Magic Company used to buy such sets (at relatively much more money than they cost today) imagining that was all they had to do - buy them. Then they found that performing a Punch show was hard work and something that required perseverance. It wasn't just a case of opening the packet and performing the trick. That is why so many sets of puppets have appeared on Ebay during the years.
But if you can use your puppets then they are a great investment because they will, over the years, not only continue to make you money but also will bring you great pleasure and satisfaction.

I think you are being very sensible in testing your aptitude before you take the plunge and spend. It sounds like you have the makings of a Punch performer.

By the way, your DJ was right that the warm up is the key. Not so much to excite the kids as to gain control of the kids. If the kids like you, and are in tune with you, and know what is expected of them then you will have them on your side. And they will stay on your side even when you disappear into the booth. You have to stay in control even though they can't see you.

If you take Rod Burnett as a role model you won't go far wrong.
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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby CvdC » 09 Apr 2014, 04:23

Buy a set of good quality puppets, they will do all the work for you.

http://www.speckinspace.com/whatsit/puppets.html
Shameless advertising

Not only will they help your show you can prop them up on sticks, put them on a shelf or in a glass case as ornaments. If you can find a really nice old suit case they can be kept under the stairs or in an attic to be discovered many years later and put on ebay.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby martinpunch » 09 Apr 2014, 14:17

That is a great idea, but the main reason I have tripped upon the world of Punch again in later life is that both my boys (aged 4 and 6) have fallen in love with it.
The six year old is autistic and where he does not have conversations with adults hje is happy to have a chat with punch (swazzle in). The four year old loves playing the puppet mimic ing the whole routine, I do a show, he does a show.
The teachers have noticed this fancination at the six year old school and have as a project started making the puppets Punch and Judy from the plan on Mr Bambszzoles site. So I am going to hold off buying any unless some bargains come up. I have also just been offered a paid gig for 3 shows on the 3 May so I better try and get something organised. I might see if I can pass the gig on to someone else in Southsea and be the understudy for the day. Perhaps with the oppotunity to do one off the show using their equipment.
Any one local and up fo that let me know

Regards

Martin
Kindest regards

Martin

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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby martinpunch » 22 Jun 2014, 20:13

Well done another show for a small audiance. Not as improved as hoped but parents happy that kids really enjoyed show.
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Martin

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Re: First Punch Show to a Childrens Party

Postby martinpunch » 04 Jul 2014, 19:05

Just back from Southsea Tennis Club and when I got there they had no customers. So I wend round the splash pool next door and with a mix of swazzle and the PA annouced P&J show was starting at for. In the end I got a terrific audiance of about 20 kids plus adults and the all laughed shouted and boo' in the right places. So I am feeling really good ahead of my two shows tommorow which will be the first oppotunity that my friends will have a chance to see my new persona Prof. Luffy (please don't tell me theres already a really famous one I hadn't thought of that)
Anyway I will post back tommorrow. I have just given my punch some legs from an action man :oops:
Kindest regards

Martin

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