Judy gets the last laugh as slapstick show presents a less violent Punch 

Judy gets the last laugh as slapstick show presents a less violent Punch 

The Punch & Judy Fellowship, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month, was established to raise standards across the industry and admission as a full member required a rigorous assessment of his abilities as a professional Punch & Judy entertainer, with his comic timing and ability to make children amused and enthralled judged by fellow puppeteers.

In line with all members Josh is of course familiar with the roots of the Punch and Judy show in the 16th-century Italian commedia dell’arte.

The figure of Punch, who is derived from the Neapolitan stock character of Pulcinella, was anglicised to Punchinello and subsequently Punch when introduced into Britain during the Restoration of the Monarchy, making his first recorded appearance in England on 9 May 1662.

“Samuel Pepys wrote about seeing the first Punch and Judy show in his diary,” said Josh, who performs regularly in schools and at Groombridge Place, near his home in Tunbridge Wells. “I think the fact that it’s still popular after all these years, especially with children, is brilliant.

“A woman came up to me after one of my shows and said she hadn’t seen her five-year-old granddaughter laugh so much in a long time. That kind of reaction really makes it all worthwhile.”

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