New revised 2023 version with bonus features
Since its initial performances in 1986, Too Much Punch for Judy has toured non-stop all over the world to schools, colleges, prisons, young offenders’ institutes and army bases. Astonishingly, it is now one of the most performed contemporary plays, with 6,058 licensed performances between 1987 and 2020.
The play has been cited in Chief Examiner’s reports for Drama GCSE to be an example of a play that gives students ample opportunity to achieve across the criteria.
This hard-hitting verbatim play is based on a tragic drink drive accident that results in the death of the vehicle’s front seat passenger, Jo. Her sister Judy, driving the car, escapes physically unhurt – but can never escape the consequences of her own reckless behaviour.
60 minutes approximately
6 male, 6 female, 1 male or female, or 2 male, 2 female with doubling
JUDY (A woman in her early twenties)
VI (Judy’s mother)
JO (Judy’s sister)
PETE (Judy’s husband) – a non speaking part
BOB (A cocky ‘lad’)
NOB (Bob’s sidekick)
DUNCAN (The first person on the scene of the accident)
P.C. CATEN (Local Police Constable, friend of Judy’s family)
P.C. ABRAHAMS (Fresh, ‘out of the box’ Police Constable)
SISTER/CHARGE NURSE DAVIS (Responsible for Judy in Hospital)
NARRATORS 1 & 2
RON (Penny Jessup’s father)
SIMON SPENCE (Author)
Props and Presentation:
This play should be presented simply, yet imaginatively. Few props are required: A wheelchair, two sets of car keys and two half-filled beer glasses.
Exploring the Text: the play provides opportunities for discussion around the subject matter, text, style of playwrighting and performance style.
Physicalisation and the use of music: the play gives opportunities to physicalise the script and use music to reflect emotion.
Monologues: a variety of narration, naturalistic dialogue, duologues and use of chorus provide various performance styles for all actors.
Additional Learning Resources for Teachers:
- DVD – A production of Too Much Punch For Judy by Oasis Youth Theatre and interview with playwright Mark Wheeller, Ape Theatre Company Director Matt Allen and cast – £19.99
- YouTube – insight from playwright Mark Wheeller
- The Story Behind … Too Much Punch for Judy – a digital edition of resources including photography, statistics, lesson ideas and behind the scenes accounts.
‘The audience I sat in was patently out for some whooping Friday night fun watching their mates on stage. At the end there was a horrid silence.’
Nick Baker, Times Educational Supplement