Punch Scholar

Watching shows

Of course when it comes down to it the best way to learn about Punch and Judy is to watch shows. Some may say it is the only way to learn how to perform (Felix 2016). However this is not always possible. There is the unfortunate fact that the show you watch may not be good or authentic, or when you watch you may not take in all you need to during a performance.
So the next best thing is to provide you with a number of videos to watch over and over again. In the next section I will focus on one in particular.

The video below is a film made in 1901. It shows an excerpt from the show performed by Henry Bailey (1852- 1909) with his bottler, the young Harry Russell (1885-1953) standing on the left with the pandean pipes. This is the earliest show ever filmed and Bailey was the son of James Bailey (1830-90) who came from Marylebone, so it is most probably an authentic representation of a Victorian show. (Felix 2016)

For an extensive analysis of this film: [ Click here to open. ]
Video from Victoria and Albert Museum via youTube 2014.

The following video is of Salvatore Gatto. This represents the Italian, or more specifically, Neapolitan tradition from which Punch emanated. This style of puppetry is called Guaratelle and deserves to still maintain an influence on the Punch and Judy performance in the 21st century. Videos from Licio Esposito from youTube 2011.
It is in two parts. Part 1:


Part 2:

The next video is of Professor Joe Green on Blackpool Sands in 1972/3 and is a mid-twentieth century show that is very much a traditional English show and well worth watching. [ Click here to open Robert Leach's article that features Green. ]
Video Amber via Vimeo

And here is America's contribution from the middle of the twentieth century. An active show that shows clearly the link between Punch and the sort of vibrant slapstick you find in cartoon animation. The performer is George Prentice.

Felix, G.(2016) Inside the Booth. G. Felix.
Leach, R.(1983) Punch and Judy and Oral Tradition, Folklore, 94:1, 75-85,