The (Insert Name Here) Mummers, Carshalton Tour, December 2010
Location: Various public houses* in the quiet London hamlet of Carshalton in Surrey which is part of Greater London.
(London Borough of Sutton) England.

Here are the words of the character known in this play as Betsy Bub introducing the “Insert Name Here Mummers” to the unsuspecting audience:

“Would you like to spend some time with the Mummers?

In come I old Betsy Bub
Over me shoulder I carries a club
In me hand a frying pan
Don’t you think I’m a funny old woman?

That I’m old there is no doubt
But I’ve come to show you such a rout
Such a rout has never been seen before
With dead men slain all over this floor.

Men from England, Turkey, Carshalton and Spain
Most to die and rise again
Battles to make the strongest shiver
With heroes pieced through lung and liver.

If you don’t believe what I say
Step in St George and clear the way.”

The Carshalton tour consists of a performance at local public houses in Carshalton. The Insert Name Here Mummers swap character parts, the photos are not in a strict order of the play.

What are Mummers plays?

There are many Mummers' plays of one sort or another recorded in Britain and the names of the hero and villain reflect local traditions. The hero is usually England's Patron Saint, St George. The villain varies more widely and he may be the 'Bold Slasher', the 'Turkish Knight' or the 'Black King of Pardine'. In some plays from the south of England, 'Old Boney' (Napoleon) makes an appearance as the villain.

The plays are short dramas with rhymed texts, traditionally performed in association with certain annual festivals - mostly Christmas. There are three main types of play, the most prominent is the hero/combat play. It starts with an introductory prologue and is followed by challenges and a sword fight between the hero and an antagonist. As a result of this, one of them is "slain" and a quack doctor is brought in to perform a cure. The doctor then magically brings the corpse to life again.

The costumes worn can be intended to portray the character being acted, much as you would expect in a regular stage play. However many sides wear non-representational costumes instead, typically smocks or shirts covered with patches, ribbons, paper strips, etc. Also the face was commonly disguised either by blacking up or by obscuring the face with the headgear. The plays text were passed down orally and vary from play to play.

The play finishes with money being extracted from the audience in order to supply beverages, (usually alcoholic), for the players.

Many thanks to the publicans and audiences at the following pubs:

The Windsor Castle, Carshalton Road
The Greyhound, High Street
The Coach and Horses, High Street
The Lord Palmerston, Mill Lane
The Hope, West Street
The Railway, North Street

The Insert Name Here Mummers website: www.theinsertnameheremummers.co.uk
Further information about folk plays can be found at this website: www.folkplay.info/index.htm
The Morris Ring: www.themorrisring.org/
CAMRA Croydon & Sutton branch website for info. about pubs in Carshalton: www.croydoncamra.org.uk/
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