Williams essayed a Mummerset
accent for some of the evening's items, including a Linden Lea encore which thereby lost its gentle dignity.
He is not rendered comic through a rustic 'mummerset
' dialect, demonised as a hypocritically self-interested rebel, nor allegorised into abstraction by generalised grievances or commonplace, proverbial utterances.
When Northumberland admits to Bolingbroke that he is a "stranger here in [applies Mummerset
accent] Gloucestershire" there is, again, much hilarity.
Also notable are the contributions from Jenny Samuel as a mischievous kitchen boy with a 'Mummerset
' accent and Alastair Merry as a forester-cum-gamekeeper: an inspired piece of casting which gives their sequences a comic edge.
If the intention was to produce poetry in the Dorset dialect, the result so far is doggerel in theatrical Mummerset
In making Mopsa speak 'Mummerset
', Anna Weamys may be credited with an early and apt use of the word in a printed text.
Out go Silvius and Audrey's standard mummerset
accents, and with them the usual assumption of these characters' dimness.
As soon as it became apparent that the plebeians would be speaking with a variety of accents that cover the provincial geographies of England from the North to the South-West via that ever-popular imaginary county of Mummerset
, accents played as comic with that appalling assumption that workers are intrinsically comic in their stupidity, everything, in effect, that the last fifty years of radicalizing rethinking of the politics of voice has tried to work against, I knew that my major response to the production would be less an intellectual analysis than an increasingly intemperate fury and frustration.
And what witches these were, cast as East End hoodies aimlessly mooching about, as clichd as the Mummerset
sailors leaving their nymphs on the shore at the beginning of Act III.
Any further discussion of accent in The Archers could quickly become a veritable PhD thesis, starting with Ruth's glottal stops and finishing with the diverse Mummerset
tones of Jolene and Beddy with the many-voiced Grundys occupying a geographically-challenged noman's-land in between.
Richard Stilgoe wobbles on a tightrope in Walton's slicker settings, affects a tedious Mummerset
accent for many of the others, and leaves us wondering what is the point of his involvement.
Not all of the accents rise much above stage Mummerset
and there is a hint of Brummie.