Traditional Drama Forum - No.14 ISSN 1743-3789 April 2009

DVD Review

Mummers, Masks and Mischief : Augha Killy Maud’s Men of Straw
Aughakillymaude Community Mummers
Feenish Productions, 2005, Tape or DVD. Price £13.20 from the Aughakillymaude Community Association, Derrylin, Co. Fermanagh, BT92 9JT

This is a notable and welcome addition to the all-too-short list of audio and visual material about English-language traditional drama of any sort.

The credits go some way to explaining the extremely high standard of the production, but there are also strong and obvious elements of dedication, enthusiasm and enjoyment.Jim Ledwith’s cover-note starts “Hours of toil, sweat and tears have gone into producing this unique record of cultural expression…” All I can say is that it was well worth it!

Straw costumes, music and plenty of play action. This film is basically Aughakillymaud [pronounced ‘Ack-la-mad’] Community Mummers, their success in promoting interest in traditions within their own community, their forays abroad and their friendship with teams from their own and other nations.

It steers a laudably accurate path between the trivial and the obscurely academic, giving entertainment and interest to anyone who has never heard of mumming, whilst including insightful contributions from scholars such as Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh of the Department of Irish Folklore at University College Dublin.

As a mummer myself I can understand (and slightly envy) the obvious enthusiasm that has been engendered in a wide section of their community embracing people of all ages.

Whilst not mentioned in the film, it is worth noting that Jim Ledwith and his team also organise an annual Fermanagh Mummers Festival in early December and the Mummers have recently acquired funding to create a permanent Mumming Activity Centre.

Some of you may be dithering over whether or not to get one. Go for it!! It will give you much pleasure, and enterprises like this deserve support.

Ron Shuttleworth


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