LONDON: Children's favourite Punch and Judy shows are full of sexual titillation aimed at adults, drama researchers say.
University lecturer Robert Leach finds the old-fashioned puppet show is full of erotic symbolism.
"Mr Punch is a conglomeration of phallic symbols – his big red nose, his banana-shaped humped back and the big stick he uses to beat everyone with."
Britain's leading Punch and Judy man supported Mr Leach's view yesterday that the show stimulates sexual interest in adults.
Professor Ronald Codman of Liverpool, whose family since 1890 has presented Punch and Judy in many countries throughout the world, said: "It may well be the case that Punch uses erotic symbolism.
"The art of Punch and Judy dates back to the Italian Renaissance and because Italy was heavily influenced by the Greeks, symbolism and fertility rights became an integral part of Italian culture and art.
"The traditional show may be full of innuendo, but there is no chance of anyone finding Punch sexy – he's too grotesque."
Mr Leach says Punch is a chauvinist who likes to have sexual relations without responsibility.
"Punch and Judy are seen dancing during the performance, which is a well known dramatic interpretation of the sexual act, but when Judy presents Punch with a baby he is very angry and hits them both and tries to throw the baby out of the window.
Mr Leach, author of a book detailing his theories about the success of Punch and Judy shows, believes Mr Punch is an anarchist who rejects marriage, religion and law and order.
"That can be seen from the way he fights with Judy, the hangman and the police"
Daily Telegraph. Friday, January 20 1989