According to Punchandjudy.com, “The English Mr.Punch is truly an international character as well as being the British National Puppet. His origins are in Naples, whilst his family is worldwide.” Though tracing it’s roots to the 16th C. Punch remains a very recognizable figure of English culture.
The storyline of the classic Punch and Judy show has not changed much in the following centuries and it would not be difficult to create your own Punch and Judy show which, if following the traditional story, would not be much different than that no doubt enjoyed by Jane Austen herself while in London or Bath. A history of Punch and Judy and a classic script can be found in this 1861 volume, entitled Punch and Judy.
Although quite violent in nature, “the various episodes of the show are performed in the spirit of outrageous comedy — often provoking shocked laughter — and are dominated by the anarchic clowning of Mr. Punch. While censorious political correctness threatened Punch and Judy performances in the UK and other English speaking countries for a time, the show is having one of its cyclical recurrences and can now be seen not only in England, Wales, and Ireland, but also in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”*
In my opinion the street Punch is one of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive. I regard it as quite harmless in its influence, and as an outrageous joke which no one in existence would think of regarding as an incentive to any kind of action or as a model for any kind of conduct. It is possible, I think, that one secret source of pleasure very generally derived from this performance… is the satisfaction the spectator feels in the circumstance that likenesses of men and women can be so knocked about, without any pain or suffering.—Charles Dickens, Letter to Mary Tyler, 6 November 1849, from The Letters of Charles Dickens Vol V, 1847–1849
In order to make your own puppets, punchandjudy.com has offered the following pattern from Peggy Terale’s PUNCH AND JUDY PUPPETS pamphlet.
These patterns include instructions for Punch, Judy, Baby, Policeman and several other characters. As the site claims, “These glove puppets are extremely simple to make and require no special apparatus-sewing materials, felt and buckram being all the equipment necessary. Velour, however, makes good firm cylinders, and should an old hat be available it can be used instead of felt. Adhesive tape is useful for strengthening joins.”