What is the Punch and Judy Story. Is it always the same?

The Punch & Judy Storyline

The broad outline of the Punch and Judy Show has remained constant for over a hundred years. Of course each performer tells the story in his own way. The various scripts on this site will give you the flavour of the show. On the main menu click the button labelled "Punch Scripts".

Here follows a very basic outline:

The Basic Storyline

Mr Punch believes in knocking trouble on the head - literally. His story springs from a more chauvanistic age when Punch was seen as an Everyman character beset by the popularly perceived burdens of the common man: The nagging wife, the mewling brat, petty officialdom, the medical quack, the strictures of the Law and the fear of damnation.

Punch meets each tribulation with the cheerful use of his Slapstick and makes quick dispatch of wife Judy, the baby, beadle and the doctor. The constable and the public hangman are similarly served and Punch's final triumph is against Old Nick himself. "Huzza Huzza, I've killed the Devil".

In the Victorian age when this story was developed there would have been a great deal of sympathy with Punch. Today, with a different attitude to marriage and family life, and with greater respect for authority, the story is often modified although the general pattern is retained. The main change is in the audience. In Victorian times the showman was definitely aiming his wit at an adult audience whereas today the Punch show is considered a speciality for children.

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