The Canterbury Tales..A cheap Knyght out

Tuesday 22 August 2006

Andrew and Phil like a good offer.

£22 for centre row E including programme (RRP – £3.50) and generous slug of wine (RRP – forgot to ask, but it’s a West End theatre so.. £4? £5) at the half proves there’s bargains galore to be had.

Ok so we only saw half the production. That is we saw CT Part One but CT 1 and 2 can be seen independently and though we quite enjoyed it we’ll pass on part 2. We think we get the gist.

Which brings us to the programme, now £3.50 is pretty steep, we’re not complaining as ours were “free” and as it covers both shows you can look at it as costing half that price for each. This one really is packed with information and as kept Phil reading till way past His bedtime, it puts other costly programmes to shame (Put your tail between your legs, Theatre Royal Haymarket).

As for the show – well, it’s very much a curate’s egg. Actually we didn’t spot a curate but there may well have been. Some of the stories were much more fun than others. The knight’s (knyght’s?) tale was a dullish beginning, the order apparently changes, but it’s probably best to get this one out of the way. Other stories were much bawdier and there’s a well choreographed farcical bed hopping scene with three beds and five characters which would do Brian Rix proud.

Phil was slightly disappointed with the Nun’s Priest’s tale which he had studied for O level (of course, Chaucer’s work was much more contemporary then which may account for it). The puppetry was goodish but the fox stole the cock and the show too. At the moment it seems there’s puppetry galore on stage. Haven’t seen this much since two Australians manipulated another type of cock in the West End.

In a generally good cast Mark Hadfield looks the part of Chaucer, Clare Benedict and Michael Jibson (outstanding in the Madness musical Our House) stand out and we would liked to see more of the wonderful Paola Dionisotti. Perhaps that’s reason enough to invest in part two.

And if you’re passing the stage door ten minutes or so before kick off you might be granted the marvellously incongruous sight of Chaucerian figures enjoying a crafty fag before curtain up.

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