Scene from the sketch Going into Space
The Punch Revue
Black and white photograph
Museum no. TM 897-23
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Punch was founded in 1841, and for 150 years continued its tradition of humorous political and social comment and cartoons. In 1955 came The Punch Revue in which almost all the material was adapted from, or contributed by, writers and cartoonists for the magazine. Not all critics were impressed by the show, but they were universal in their approval of the return to the London stage of Binnie Hale (pictured here in the 'rocket chair'), who had been a huge star in the 1930s. Particularly admired was her rendition of 'O tell me the truth about love', with lyrics by the poet W.H.Auden and music by Benjamin Britten, as well as her extremely accurate imitations of stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Joyce Grenfell. Binnie's father, Robert Hale had also been a comic actor and her brother Sonnie was married to Jessie Matthews. The setting for the sketch Going the Space was designed by Rowland Emett, a cartoonist and designer of eccentric mechanical displays, whose drawings often appeared in Punch.