It’s far from perfect – and even the script admits it’s all a bit of a conundrum – but Improbable’s celebration of the 350th anniversary of the first recorded appearance of Punch proves an enjoyable melange of vaudeville and puppetry, song and mask.

The windows, doors and tiny apertures of the panelled set open and close to reveal a scene-stealing dog sporting an Elizabethan ruff tapping away at a typewriter, a sextet of cute piglets swiftly minced into sausages, a cello-playing matador and a man-size bull. Punch is a multiple-murderer with a beaky chin as long as his nose who knocks off his wife and baby without a moment’s regret on his journey to hell.

Mixed in with the puppets (from the tiny to the giant-headed) are a sweetly singing duo and the presenters of this weird show, Messrs Harvey and Hovey.

There’s a lack of coherence, and not everything works – but it’s inventively executed and under the guidance of co-founder Julian Crouch, there’s enough novelty in this devised show to keep you entertained,  

Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
Tube: Barbican
until 25th February

– Louise Kingsley