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In Comes I

by John Bartlett

... six modern Mummers plays for a contemporary audience ...

Contemporary Mummers Play Scripts by John Oke BartlettIt is customary at Christmas time in some parts of the UK is for a group of men to perform one or more traditional Old English short plays in pubs to entertain the drinkers and usually nowadays to collect for charity. The group of men are known as Mummers, and the plays they perform are generally quite stylised, fairly bawdy in nature, follow a known pattern and have a standard cast of characters with some of the men dressed as women. Many of the scripts date from at least Victorian times, and often well before that, having been handed down from generation to generation.

Whilst John Bartlett is a devotee of the tradition of Mumming, English Folk Music and Morris Dancing, he has noticed over the years that a modern-day pub audience often has difficulty in understanding the language used and concepts portrayed in these old scripts.

Being a playwright, he decided to bring Mumming bang up-to-date in this collection of six modern Mummers plays. In doing so he has kept the traditional elements but made them more accessible to those used to soaps and sex. These two examples give a flavour of the ribald (and not very PC) nature of the plays ...

A few lines from 'Bellender's Last Stand'

Policeman Plod

'Ello, 'ello, ello. In comes I, Policeman Plod.

  Jack the Sniffer You'll never catch me you silly old sod. (He exits)
  Betty Bertha He's gone off and scarpered all hurt and affronted
You've poked your nose in where it's not wanted.
  Policeman Plod Madam, I was merely protecting you from sexual abuse
Don't you know there's a violent killer on the loose?
  Betty Bertha Young man, sexual abuse is my stock in trade
I'm Big Betty Bertha that must be obeyed
Hand jobs, I think, are what I do best
So if you fancy a bit then be my guest.
  Policeman Plod Certainly not, I must uphold the letter of the law.
  Betty Bertha Well how about a session on the kitchen floor?
  Policeman Plod A quickie does hold some attraction and appeal.
  Betty Bertha That's better, there's nothing like a grope and a feel!
A few lines from 'It'll Be All Bite On The Night '

Curses! My blood lust is only partially curbed
Now I must fly to my earthy bed
And leave her here, not quite dead.


In comes I, a balding hero bold
But who is here in the shivering cold
Why it's my own true lovely Nancy
Shall I take advantage and tickle her fancy?

No! No! No! I am made of sterner stuff
Well perhaps a peek, would be enough
Good heavens! What is this I spy
With my one and only beady eye

A device to keep away unwanted lickers
Cloves of garlic stuck up her knickers!

  Nancy Oh Horace what are you doing my sweet
Give me a kiss, you deserve a treat
  Horace Nancy, what's happened to your teeth?
  Nancy Nothing, but you may need a wreath
  Horace A wreath my love, whatever for?
  Nancy Oh Horace, please don't be a bore
Give me a kiss just one little peck
Come closer you monster, I need your neck.

So, if you want to inject a risque contemporary feel to your Christmas mumming activities,
then 'In Comes I ...' is definitely for you.

List Of Contents
  1) Flint's Squint (or, The Gusset Gropers Convention)
  2) Bellender's Last Stand (or, The Whitechapel Kipper Sniffer)
  3) Major Scarlet's Harlots
  4) Bartiswoo Three (or, Devils On The Job)
  5) It'll Be All Bite On The Night
  6) Elvis The King (or, The Belly Slappers Ball)
  7) Mustaphaslash, the Saracen
  8) One Eyed Willy
  9) Old Dame Flabby’s Pussy (or, Panto Mummers)
10) Pussy Galore (or, Fanny by Moonlight)
11) Sweaty Betty's Quest (or, The Hunt for Hairy Mary)
12) Shagnasty's Cure (or, It'll Be All Right On The Night)

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