The Canterbury Tales

* * * *
4 stars

Tabard Productions version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales has many virtues. The young cast show much versatility in successfully taking on many roles, and Harriet Bradley’s direction of her own adaptation is straightforward and clear. After the initial meeting of the pilgrims with Geoffrey Chaucer and the Host, four Tales are showcased – the Miller’s Tale, the Reeve’s Tale, the Wife of Bath’s Tale and the Prioress’s Tale.

Cast members, consisting of Sam Lysons, Michael Quirke, Tom Garner, Linda Davies, Fiona McKenzie and Laura Goude, take the lead in narrating each Tale, and they also convincingly play the many characters as the stories unfold. This calls for split second timing which the cast achieve with energy and skill. Special mention is due to Tom Garner and Fiona McKenzie for their flair for comic timing and natural stage presence.

As for the Tales themselves, even after seven centuries, they stand up as enjoyable and earthy stories. Pricking the pompous and smug is timeless humour. Throwing in slices of morality and immorality adds to the entertainment.

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