The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Performed during 2011
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Reviewed by Theo Spring for The Croydon Advertiser
‘Super, smashing, great’. Not quite Chaucerian words but some of the modern touches added by adapter and director Richard Lloyd, and voiced by Alan, a north country student, about a night of passion in the Reeve’s Tale – words certainly applicable to the play.
Renowned for their outdoor productions, this was set in the grounds of the Coulsdon Manor Hotel with good sound and lighting and kind weather on the night I went.
Seven tales from the original 28 were delivered, with some cast members playing many different parts. The wardrobe team deserve an accolade for their ingenuity and research as do those in charge of make up – for the Fox and Chanticleer in particular. The two horses looked and sounded excellent.
The main characters, who each took it in turn to entertain with a story en route to Canterbury, all interacted well with each other’s tales, creating the illusion of the journey.
The tales incorporated elegant girl dancers, two of whom later became greedy rougues, complete with beards and moustaches in the Pardoner’s Tale.
Sean Young as the Knight in the Wife of Bath’s Tale included audience members in his vital quest to find out what it is that women most desire and it was he again, as Fly Nicholas in the Miller’s Tale who, alongside Hannah Montgomery as Alison, had to do a spot of mooning.
Interpretations were commendable, realistic and often funny, but the most comic was the Luke Argles as Chanticleer the Cockerel in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale.
Cock-a-hoop with his bevy of admiring clucking hens, he fell for the wily fox’s cock and bull story, leaving his love, Pertelote (Lucy-Ann Martin) bereft.
It was a joy to watch this production of tales from our English heritage.
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