The Devil and Mister Punch
Live Arts Festival
Theater / 90 minutes
(Preview) Christ Church Neighborhood House
Christ Church Neighborhood House
“We can promise puppets and pianos, fingers and hands, crocodiles and sausages. It’s a beautiful and dirty show about love and fighting—not for the squeamish.”
"One of the most energizing and provocative forces in British theater."
Festival Creative Producers
Photo: Courtesy of Improbable
Is a good beating really cause for a good laugh?
The iconic Mr. Punch (of Punch and Judy fame) murders his way through life’s inconveniences, and yet his story has been the basis for beloved family entertainment for centuries. Unsatisfied with mere murder, The Devil and Mister Punch delves into the even darker world of Punch’s manipulators, the puppeteers themselves, and a pair of down-on-their-luck vaudeville-era theater producers, the ever-battling brothers Harvey and Hovey, who have hit rock bottom, reduced to presenting a puppet show that goes wildly off-course. A stage like a giant Victorian armoire has secret openings, a piano, and multiple performances areas. This shadowy, magical world features transatlantic wooden and papier-mâché players, music of the jug band era, a steaming crocodile, a parade of elephants, hangings, beatings, the devil, and—of course—sausages.
In short: gutter entertainment, devilish doings, bells, puppet murders, leaning tower of pigs, mad actors.
Improbable’s works include Obie award winning 70 Hill Lane and the Philip Glass opera Satyagraha (English National Opera, The Metropolitan Opera). Artistic director Julian Crouch served as a co-director and co-designer on Shockheaded Peter, winner of a 2002 Laurence Olivier Award.
Creative Team Julian Crouch, Rob Thirtle, Nick Haverson, John Foti, Saskia Lane, Jessica Scott, Seamus Maynard, Sarah Laux, Ragnar Freidank
Appropriate for ages 16 and up.
* Post-show discussion on Sept 13 moderated by Nick Stuccio, producing director, Live Arts Festival.
The Devil and Mister Punch has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative. The Devil and Mister Punch has been commissioned by Walker Art Centre (Minneapolis), Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and Barbican (London). This production is also supported by Pomegranate Arts.
For bonus content about The Devil and Mister Punch visit www.thedevilandmisterpunch.com.