Pick of the Day

From today’s Guardian:

Over on Radio 3, the moral struggle involves crocodiles and sausages rather than serpents and apples. The Tragical Comedy Or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch (10pm, Radio 4) is set on the south coast of England, where a small boy has come to stay with his grandparents. Grandad runs an amusement arcade on the seafront, and when Swatchell, a Punch and Judy “professor”, sets up his booth, the boy becomes fascinated by the puppets – particularly when parallels develop between the story of Mr Punch and events in his own family’s life. Neil Gaiman’s play is narrated by Richard Dillane and stars Alexander Morton and Geoff Felix as Punch.

–Phil Daoust

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From the 3 March Herald:

Distorting mirrors, ghost trains, that tall, narrow tent wherein lurked violent puppets. Was there anything spookier to a child than the old fashioned seaside fun arcade? Well, the funsters who worked there often topped the creepy league.

This, anyway, was the impression left by the latest play in The Wire series, The Tragical Comedy and Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch (Radio 3, Thursday), which explored the weird parallels between a small boy’s encounter with Punch and Judy and the hushed-up furies inside his own family life.

Powerful and chilling, the work was adapted by Neil Gaiman from the acclaimed novel he wrote with Dave McKean, and this time round that grotesque squeeze-box voice chanting “That’s the way to do it” really was nightmarish stuff.
–Anne Simpson