The Battling Butlers

presented by Bash Street Theatre 14 May 2023 - 18 May 2023

presented by Bash Street Company
by Simon Pullum and Lochlann Pickering
original music - Julian Gaskell
Song lyrics by Simon Pullum and Julian Gaskell
Directed by David Twomlow
Set Design Isolde Pullum
Set Construction Neill Robson and Tristan Kessell

It’s helter-skelter, roller coaster, death-defying, dangerous…life on the road is never straight forward for single dad, Joe Butler in this poignant, musical celebration of the ever-changing relationship between a father-and-son, street theatre double-act.

Using a unique blend of circus skills, original songs, live music and magical illusions, The Battling Butlers is also a story of the circle of life as the old performer makes way for the new. And it really is a family affair, presented by father and son, Simon Pullum and Lochlann Pickering, with original live music from Julian Gaskell.

Based in Penzance, in Cornwall, Bash Street Theatre has built an international reputation over the last 30 years, performing silent-comedy, street theatre shows throughout the UK, Europe and beyond. The show is suitable for family audiences, with a recommended age of 7 and above.

Review by Jenni Balow

Bash Street Theatre, based in Penzance, takes us on a nostalgic journey back to the days of travelling family circus acts involving conjuring, magic illusions, song and dance, quick costume changes and lots of performing energy - for a hatful of cash.

In fact, Simon Pullum, who has led his own helter-skelter life as the head of this family, is beginning to look quite exhausted by the whole slapstick caper, after taking them out on the road to Europe and beyond, for more than 30 years.

But the show will go on, and his lively young son Lochlann, is right there, with all the tricks his Dad has taught him, cartwheeling, stilt-walking, mono-cycling, juggling, pulling rabbits out of hats, and literally being dangled like a puppet on a string, as part of The Battling Butlers double act.

With Julian Gaskell playing a range of their own music and songs on guitars, drums, keyboard and accordion, sometimes it seems, all at once, as a non-stop accompaniment to the antics on stage, they tell the story of a fictonal circus act that mirrors their own experiences on the road.

For the show they have converted a tiny caravan packed full of props, into a rickety stage designed by another member of the family, Isolde Pullum, and built by Neill Robson and Tristan Kessell, with David Twomlow directing.

The two lark around and teeter on their stilts all-too-close to the cliff edge in this open air theatre, referring to the hardship and festival cancellatons caused by a combination of Brexit, the pandemic and climate change, singing We Didn't See It Coming.

Simon wraps it up with a tribute song to all the performers from the last half century or so, who have arrived at the Pearly Gates, remembering dozens of famous names in the world of entertainment, including, in this time of the Eurovision Song Contest, the entry that came second in 1959 - Sing Little Birdie, by Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson!