Carrington Moss Mumming Play
Notes from an actor

These are notes specific to the Thelwall Mummers interpretation of the Traditional Carrington Moss Mumming Play.

Note 1. Plumley to Peover

Plumley and Peover are the original locations (a matter of miles apart)
Current practice is to pick two similar locations close to the venue of the play

Note 2. Enter the dragon - sorry, lion

In 1996 the Dragon costume went missing so we had to use the Lion.
This little speech changed to:

I'll clip the lion's mane he shall not roar
I'll cut him down, or make him sore

Note 3. It's that lion again

In 1996, of course, this was "Who's that who seeks the lion's blood"

Note 4. Slaying the dragon

1996 we replaced "dragon" with "lion" (and "mangy lion" instead of "fiery dragon")

The dragon is normally initially killed with George's spear thrust into it - however the dragon recovers and attacks George when his back is turned. The crowd warns George with cries of "look out" and in true panto style "BEHIND YOU", whereupon George draws a water pistol and sprays the dragon who cries "Oh no, not water" and dies.
George adopts the "hunter with killed prey pose"

In 1996 George just spears stabs the lion with his spear

Note 5. The big fight

After the initial bits of agression hitting swords the fight is broken up by the Fool who demands a proper fight. He sends the two knights to their "corners" and announces to the audience:

Ladies and Gentlemen for your delight
A world heavyweight fight in this very room, tonight.

In the blue corner - Bold Slasher.
[boos from audience]
And in the red corner for England and thee Saint George
[cheers from audience (boos from Slasher)]
Round one
[Sword clashing, Slasher overpowers George, but is stopped before kill]
End of round one
[Protests from Slasher]
Round two
[They fight again, Phoebe calls to Slasher ("Cooee Slasher"), he is distracted, waves and is killed]

Note 6. The doctor appears

Thelwall Mummers send the doctor into the pub about ten minutes in advance of the performance.
His mode of dress whilst conspicuous to customers - he is noticed - it is not too outrageous to be obvious he is associated with the Mummers.
His eventual appearance in the play is usually greeted with surprise.

Thelwall often make the initial exclamation by the doctor venue specific.
Yes there's a doctor in the Bull's Head
Can stop this Turk from feeling dead

The more awful the rhyme, then the better (or worse) - this also provides some amusement to the actors who will not know in advance what dreadful pun awaits.

Note 7. Extraneous characters

These "brave lads" are in no way compulsory to the plot and which ones stroll on is dependant on how many men are available and which part they want to play.

It does usually need a Johnny Jack to dance badly (otherwise the fool's comment "wher you know one dance" is fairly meaningless)


Copyright © 1997 Andrew J White