LONDON, August 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
2012 marks the 350th anniversary of the first appearance of the UK's most treasured seaside entertainer; Mr.Punch. To celebrate we're taking a closer look at the story of this historic puppet, plus the latest forms of entertainment to enjoy on cheap package holidays abroad.
Diarist Samuel Pepys recorded that first sighting of Mr. Punch way back in 1662. The V & A Museum of Childhood is marking this special anniversary with an exhibition of the best puppet practitioners (known as 'professors' since Victorian times) and their quintessentially English characters.
The marionette mini-theatre of Punch and Judy has its roots in Italian commedia dell'arte, which became hugely popular in London during the 17th and 18th centuries. Short scenes featured the hunchback and hook-nosed Mr. Punch, who spoke in an instantly identifiable squawky voice that the 'professor' would make with a swazzle. Forming great family fun, Punch enthralled kids with his slapstick comedy and amused adults with his outrageous behaviour.
The heyday of the British seaside resorts
It was in the 20th century, between World War I and II, that Punch and his poor wife Judy really established themselves as a staple form of British seaside entertainment. The iconic red and white Punch and Judy tent could be seen at all of the famous seaside resorts that would go on to thrive in the 50s and 60s.
Faded seaside glamour
Unfortunately from the 70s onwards, British seaside resorts went into decline. Public spaces became very expensive to maintain, particularly when access to piers and beaches is free. As air travel dropped in cost, Brits began to escape the unreliable summer weather by jetting off to sunnier climes abroad.
More beach entertainment than you can shake a (slap)stick at
Modern package holidays promise guaranteed sun and a host of activities for every taste and budget. Whether it is hedonistic clubbers enjoying Ibiza holidays or groups of youngsters letting their hair down on Majorca cheap holidays, the allure of great weather and lively nightlife is irresistible. Along with spectacular weather, sun seekers have the possibility of trying out local drinks and cuisine. Couples on cheap holidays to Kos in Greece can enjoy mouth-watering regional seafood and refreshing Ouzo while watching the sunset over the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Combine that with white-knuckle water sports and unforgettable scuba diving experiences to be found on great value holidays all over Europe, you can see why the traditional puppet show might lose some of its appeal.
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SOURCE Thomas Cook