Waiting patiently outside the little top on a cold Friday evening in Launceston, I eyed suspiciously the bottles of porcelain punch that were available to purchase. Having lost my hair some months back, I was wondering if this miracle medicine would restore my mane to its former glory.

Medicine - Porcelain Punch

Porcelain Punch Travelling Medicine Show (photo by Kathryn Heathcote)

Medicine: Potion Packing a Punch

by Kathryn Heathcote

I was here to watch the Porcelain Punch Travelling Medicine Show, part of the Junction Arts Festival, tickets courtesy of Think Tasmania. In the late nineteenth century medicine shows featured music, comedy and a cure-all elixir. Many people had faith in patent medicines that were sold by travelling salesman. Porcelain punch claimed to cure a blood disorder you never knew you had, snakes bites, infertility and promised immortally.

With an outlandish strong man who looked rather like a female; contortionist female (though I suspect the legs belong to another); a one man band (whose ability to play his instruments after only a drink of Porcelain punch was incredible) and a young lady who desperate for her first kiss sings Doll on a Music box from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Upon singing the chorus around and around, the medicine man skillfully spun her around and around until she was somewhat dizzy.

The expression from this actress and her ability to keep going just made the show all the more exciting and funny to watch. The medicine man and his female companion who skillfully played the accordion and mandolin showed you acts who after drinking just one or two bottles of Porcelain punch were cured of amazing disabilities.

60 minutes later, we were leaving the little top, the show over, and minus a bottle of porcelain punch. I am sure that whatever was in those bottles was not really going to help my mane return, but for an entertaining and light-hearted night out, then it has to be the best medicine I have had in along time.

Kathryn Heathcote won tickets to the Porcelain Punch Travelling Medicine Show by entering one of the giveaway opportunities with Think Tasmania. By pure coincidence, she has also had another article published showcasing her Cradle Mountain Snow photos.

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