AND THEN THEY ARE LOOKING AT

An empty red-yellow Punch and Judy booth. Scarlett is eating an ice-cream, kicking her heels back against the pushchair in anticipation of the show, mint choc-chip dripping off her chin onto her denim dungarees, her father now laughing as he leans over on the grass to wipe his daughter’s chin with a tissue, his daughter pulling her face away in this game they play, C’mere rascally rascal, and the orange eye of the sun hangs succulent and full, blessing the lush deep greens of the park and the gathered mums that sit islanded on tartan blankets, amid Tupperware and pushchairs and cool-boxes, the static crackle of their excited offspring fizzing the humid noon like a midge cloud in a wooded-lane hollow, and Scarlett now holding out her ice-cream for her father to taste in this other game they play, and now the devilish cackle as she pushes the ice-cream against her father’s closed mouth, smearing mint choc-chip across his gurning stubbled face, MMMMM, now closer, MMMMM, now, GIZZAKISS! And now the squealing daughter tries to wriggle away from the mint choc-chip monster, her escape foiled by the pushchair straps, the monster’s kiss now smearing green across the pale cheek of the child, STOP IT DADDY! STOP! And now the two small hands flat-palmed turn the father-monster’s face towards the red-yellow stage, LOOK DADDY! LOOK! as the red-cheeked red-nosed hunchback puppet appears and the show begins...

PUNCH: Hello boys and girls!

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: HELLO!

PUNCH: Have you seen Judy?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: NO!

PUNCH: I said, HAVE YOU SEEN JUDY?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: NO!

PUNCH: Can you help me find her?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: YES!

PUNCH: JUUUUUDY! JUUUUUDY!

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: JUUUUUDY! JUUUUUDY!

JUDY (enters stage left): What is it? Who’s shouting me?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT (pointing): THERE! THERE!

PUNCH (looking left and right): Where?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: BEHIND YOU!

PUNCH: Where?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT (pointing): THERE! THERE!

Punch moves from one end of the stage to the other. Judy moves in opposites to him until they bump into each other centre stage and fall over.

(Laughter)

JUDY (scolding): What are you doing, silly Mr Punch?

PUNCH: Gizzakiss!

JUDY (turning away): No. I’m not in the mood.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (firmly): I said, Giz. A. KISS!

Punch grapples with Judy, giving her a forceful kiss.

(Laughter)

PUNCH: That’s the way to do it!

JUDY (flustered): No it is not! That wasn’t romantic at all, Mr Punch!

PUNCH: Let’s dance!

JUDY (turning away): No. I’m not in the mood.

PUNCH (firmly): I said, let’s DANCE!

Punch grapples with Judy in some kind of violent dance. Judy pushes him off.

(Laughter)

Punch slaps Judy across the face.

PUNCH (dismayed): You’re a rubbish dancer.

JUDY (flustered): That wasn’t very kind, Mr Punch!

Punch slaps her again.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (firmly): Go and make me my dinner.

JUDY (meekly): You’d better look after the baby then, Mr Punch.

Judy disappears, then returns with the baby, which she hands to Punch.

PUNCH (confused): What is it?

JUDY: It’s the baby, Mr Punch. Look after her while I make your dinner.

Judy exits. Punch looks to the audience and shakes his head.

PUNCH (to audience): What is it?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: IT’S A BABY!

PUNCH (confused): A what?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT (louder): A BABY!

Punch shakes his head. The baby starts crying. Punch drops it in surprise.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (disgusted): What a horrible thing!

(Laughter)

Punch picks up the crying baby. He shakes it violently.

PUNCH: Shut up!

(Laughter)

The baby cries louder.

PUNCH: I said SHUT UP!

(Laughter)

Punch shakes the baby even harder. The baby cries louder. Punch hits the baby’s head against the side of the stage.

(Laughter)

The baby starts screaming. Punch hits the baby’s head even more violently against the stage, then throws it out of the window, backstage.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (joyfully): That’s the way to do it!

(Laughter)

Judy enters stage right. She is carrying a plate of food.

JUDY (confused): Where’s the baby?

(Laughter)

Punch shakes his head. Judy turns to the audience.

JUDY (anxious): Has anyone seen the baby?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: THE WINDOW!

JUDY (starting to panic): Where?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: THE WINDOW!

Judy looks out the window.

JUDY (horrified): Oh my goodness! You threw the baby out the window!

(Laughter)

Judy hits Punch with the plate.

(Laughter)

JUDY (distraught): You wicked Mr Punch! How could you do such a thing!

(Laughter)

Punch exits stage left. Returns with a big stick. He beats Judy to death.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (joyfully): That’s the way to do it!

(Laughter)

The policeman enters stage right carrying the baby. He glances at Judy who is laid motionless on the stage.

POLICEMAN (sternly): Mr Punch! Did you throw a baby out of your window?

PUNCH (quietly): No.

POLICEMAN: Are you sure?

PUNCH (suppressing a giggle): Yes.

POLICEMAN (to audience): Did any of you see Mr Punch throw a baby out of the window?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: YES!

PUNCH: Oh no I didn’t.

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: OH YES YOU DID!

PUNCH: Oh no I didn’t.

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: OH YES YOU DID!

POLICEMAN (firmly): Mr Punch! I’m arresting you for throwing a baby out of a window! And (glancing at Judy) for beating your wife to death with a stick!

PUNCH: Oh no I didn’t.

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: OH YES YOU DID!

POLICEMAN (puts baby on stage): Right, Mr Punch! You’re coming with me!

PUNCH: Oh no I’m not!

Punch beats the policeman to death with his stick.

(Laughter)

The baby starts to cry again.

PUNCH (holding his ears): Oh no not again!

(Laughter)

Punch goes to hit baby with his stick. Enter Toby the dog, stage left. Toby starts barking at punch.

PUNCH (to dog): Shut up!

Punch goes to hit baby with stick. Toby tries to bite Punch.

PUNCH (angrily): Get off me you horrible hound!

Punch kicks the dog in the face.

(Laughter)

Punch beats Toby the dog and the baby to death with his stick.

(Laughter)

Punch drops his stick then looks around at the bodies scattered about on the stage.

PUNCH: Oh dear! What a mess!

Exit Punch. Returns pushing a sausage machine.

PUNCH (to audience): Does anyone fancy a bit of sausage?  

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: YES!

Punch feeds the dead bodies one by one into the sausage machine. A long string of sausages come out the other end as he does.

(Laughter)

Punch surveys the empty stage.

PUNCH (joyfully): That’s the way to do it! Now, let’s have a lovely bit of sausage for dinner!

(Laughter and groans)

Unseen by Punch, enter the crocodile stage right.

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: BEHIND YOU!

PUNCH (to audience): What?

CHILDREN/SCARLETT: BEHIND YOU!

Punch turns around just as the crocodile gobbles the sausages up.

(Laughter)

PUNCH (horrified): My dinner!

(Laughter)

Punch fights with the crocodile, nearly getting eaten in the process.

(Laughter and shrieks)

Punch retrieves his stick. He beats the crocodile to death.

PUNCH: Take that you walking handbag!

(Laughter)

Punch then feeds the crocodile to the sausage machine. More sausages come out the other end.

(Laughter)

PUNCH: Now that’s what I call recycling!

(Laughter from adults)

Enter The Devil, stage left.

PUNCH: Who the hell are you?

(Laughter from adults)

THE DEVIL: Exactly!

(Laughter from adults)

PUNCH: What?

THE DEVIL: I am The Devil! And I’ve come for your soul!

PUNCH: Well, you can’t have it. I’m using it.

(Laughter from adults)

THE DEVIL: You have no choice, Mr Punch! According to my records, you have made sausage-meat out of your wife, your baby, your dog, a crocodile and a policeman! In short, Mr Punch, you have been a very, very, bad man!

PUNCH (dismissively): Oh no I haven’t.

THE DEVIL: Oh yes you ... AAAARGH! Enough of your silly games! I am The Devil! And I have come for what is mine! (turns to the audience) Has Mr Punch been very very bad, boys and girls?

CHILDREN: YES!

SCARLETT: NO!

The Devil prods Punch with his fork. Punch yelps, then beats The Devil with his stick, who runs off.

THE DEVIL (crying): I want my Mummy!

(Laughter)

PUNCH (dancing to exit stage left): That’s the way to do it! Bye bye, boys and girls! Bye, bye! Bye, bye!

(Applause)

 

46. Jack is my dad’s dog

44. Scarlett, look!

 
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