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Monday, April 07, 2008

punch and judy

Punch and Judy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Punch and Judy (disambiguation).

A traditional Punch and Judy booth, at Swanage, Dorset
Punch and Judy is a popular puppet show featuring Punch and his wife Judy. The performance consists of a sequence of short scenes, each depicting an interaction between two characters, most typically the anarchic Punch and one other character. The show is traditionally performed by a single puppeteer, known as a Professor.

A Punch and Judy Professor (in 2007) with his puppets
Contents [hide]
1 History
2 Story
3 Published scripts
4 Derived usage
5 See also
6 External links


Mr Punch by Weymouth professor Guy Higgins.
The tale of Punch and Judy varies from puppeteer to puppeteer and has changed over time. It typically involves Punch behaving outrageously, struggling with his wife Judy and the Baby, and then triumphing in a series of encounters with the forces of law and order (and often the supernatural). The classic ending of the show has him dispatching the Devil himself, exclaiming "Huzzah huzzah, I've killed the Devil!".
All is performed in the spirit of outrageous comedy and is intended to provoke shocked laughter. Whilst the Victorian version of the show drew on the morality of its day, the 20th and 21st Century versions of the tale have evolved into something more akin to a primitive version of The Simpsons – in which a bizarre family is used as vehicle for grotesque visual comedy and a sideways look at contemporary society.
The stereotypical view of Punch casts him as a deformed, child-murdering, wife-beating psychopath who commits appalling acts of violence and cruelty upon all those around him and escapes scot-free – this is greatly enjoyed by small children. Terry Pratchett draws attention to this apparent paradox in his short story Theatre of Cruelty, the last line of which is "That's not the way to do it." In actual fact, Punch has long since reverted to his origins as a clown figure whose acts of violence are in the same tradition as those to be seen in all classic cartoons. The very stick he uses is a slapstick: the knockabout device which gave its name to a whole genre of broad physical comedy.

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