A theatrical first is promised when an ambitious version of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales comes to Bedford on Sunday June 19.
Production company The Pantaloons will perform every one of the 24 completed Canterbury Tales – no mean feat considering the play features a cast of just five actors playing over 70 characters in under two hours.
To make it even harder for themselves The Pantaloons are also performing every tale in a different theatrical style – so the audiences can expect pantomime, puppetry, masks, musicals, mime, farce, reality television, horror and opera. Even Shakespeare gets a look-in.
The play follows a group of pilgrims who decide to hold a story-telling contest on the road from Southwark to the shrine of St Thomas Beckett in Canterbury.
The pilgrims are from all walks of medieval life and include a Knight, a Miller, a Monk, a Prioress, a Shipman and a rather insatiable Wife of Bath.
Anyone unfamiliar with middle English has no need to panic as the show has been newly translated into modern language.
Mark Hayward, producer and co-author, said: “It’s all about being faithful to the original text whilst making it relevant to a modern audience. It’s a tricky line to walk but as we were translating we realised that the key things were to keep it accessible and keep it funny.”
“There are several tales that are like mini-plays in themselves. Famous ones like The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale deserve a proper showing. Other stories have been condensed into sketches, songs or even limericks.
“Many of the lesser-known tales would be rather unpalatable to a modern audience without a good pinch of irony!”
Like Chaucer’s original, the show promises plenty of bawdy fun but, with something for everyone, this family-friendly adaptation is suitable for all ages.
The show starts at 7pm. Tickets cost £12 for adults and £10 for concessions.
Call 01234 354321 or visit www.theplacebedford.org.uk to book or for more information.