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Actors take on ambitious play using different theatrical styles

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

Tell tales:   Pantaloons theatre company is visiting the county with their ambitious version of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

Tell tales: Pantaloons theatre company is visiting the county with their ambitious version of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

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With a cast of just five actors playing more than 70 characters in under two hours, Pantaloons theatre company is visiting the county with their ambitious version of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales.

Coming to Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham on Wednesday, November 14, the Pantaloons are also performing every single one of the 24 completed tales.

To make it even harder, The Pantaloons are performing each tale in a different theatrical style. 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, prioress, shipman and a rather insatiable Wife of Bath.

The show has also been newly translated into vibrant modern language.

Mark Hayward, co-producer and co-author, explains the translating process: "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 rude original, the show promises plenty of bawdy fun but, with something for everyone – a family-friendly adaptation that is suitable for all ages.

Guildhall Arts Centre, Grantham, on Wednesday, November 14 (7.30pm). Tickets: £11/£10. Box office: 01476 406 158, www.guildhallartscentre.com

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