Punch & Judy


A basic outline of a traditional Punch and Judy show that can be performed with a limited number of puppets. It is always better to start with a simple entertaining show that you can get right before complicating things.

The shows often starts with the audience shouting out to wake Punch up. He comes up bowing and clapping and calls for his wife Judy.

Judy pops up and is very bossy. Nevertheless Punch asks for a kiss. They end up giving each other an exaggerated kiss after which Judy then expects Punch to look after the baby (The result of what happened last time they had a kiss). Punch teaches the baby to walk. But he is very rough with it and it starts crying. This gets Punch flustered and he ends up by throwing it up into the air. Judy comes back up and finding the baby missing she teaches Punch a lesson by hitting him. Punch hits her back with his slapstick and knocks her down.

As a result up comes a constable or a beadle.
The constable is played as being very officious and at first has trouble finding Punch and so you have the "over here" and "he's behind you" routine. Eventually he catches Punch and tries to take him to jail but Punch knocks him down with his stick.

Then up pops Joey the clown.
With Joey you have a lot of bobbing up and down as he teases Punch. Eventually Joey stops this and offers to share some sausages with Punch.

While Joey goes down to get a frying pan a crocodile sneaks up to steal the sausages. This part of the show gets the audience shouting out "Crocodile!". Eventually the crocodile steals the sausages and swallows Punch's stick.

After the crocodile bites Punch on the nose you can bring up the Devil who is looking for someone who has been very naughty. Punch hides but eventually the Devil catches a reluctant Punch by poking him with his fork. At this point the devil can prod Punch "down below" and end the show or Punch can retrieve his stick and fight the devil and then he dances off.

At the end of the show you can bring up Joey to say farewell. He invites Punch back up to say good bye and take a bow. They knock each other on the head as they bow and finish the show squabbling.

This show will take about 15 minutes and with experience could be stretched out to twenty. This is long enough to keep most audiences entertained. Later you can embellish the routines and add characters but at first it is best to perfect these basic routines and characters.

Practice the characterisations, the movement of the puppets, engaging the audience and making them laugh. The show should be brisk with minimum amount of dialogue and clear precise puppetry. Do not rely on adlibbing your way through. After a while you can develop a few versions of the same routines and change the show according to how the aufience reacts.