Joy come to our jolly wassail! (Twelfth Night at Bankside, 2008)

I’m told it was a record turnout this year for the Twelfth Night celebrations at Bankside, London. Maybe this was down to Internet publicity, which was extensive. I had a few hundred hits on this blog from Londoners googling for details of Twelfth Night events.

I turned up 10 minutes late owing to train delays caused by someone arsing about on the line at Charlton, and just missed the arrival by boat of the Holly Man.

The event started off with a little wassailing, and then moved on to the Mummers’ play. All but one of the photos below are from the play. It was a beautiful day, the colours of the players’ costumes were vivid, and their performance outstanding. Three cheers for the Lions part!

For those unfamiliar with Mummers’ plays, the theme can be described as one of duality and resurrection, and the plot involves a battle between two or more characters (e.g., St George and the Turkey Sniper) representing good and evil. There is also featured a doctor with a magic potion which resuscitates the slain character.

Click on the pictures below to open windows with photos at a higher resolution than the previews, and hover your cursor over the images for captions.

The Old ’Oss and the Doctor Old Father Christmas St George
Bealzebub et al.
The Holly Man

After the Mummers’ play came the crowning of the King Bean and Queen Pea. Here, small cakes are distributed among the crowd, and buried within two of the cakes are a bean and a pea. Whoever finds these is crowned King Bean and Queen Pea, and the pair then head the procession from Bankside to the George Inn off Borough High Street. Sadly, I didn’t get any decent pictures of the King and Queen.

Storytelling, more wassailing, dancing and drinking followed at the George Inn, including a very well-received performance by Fowler Molly. The photo below is of two members of Fowler Molly.

Molly dancing makes you frisky!

Tomorrow is Plough Monday, and in the evening Fowler Molly will perform their final dances of the season outside a number of Greenwich hostelries. See here for details. I shall be there with my camera, and will post a few pictures in due course.

Happy New Year, and Wassail!