Youth theatre to stage bawdy version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

A version of one of the all-time classics of English literature will be presented at the Garrison Theatre next week when Shetland Youth Theatre present their take on Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

The show, written by Phil Woods, is a modern version of the 14th century original. In Chaucer’s Middle English work, some two dozen tales are told by a group of pilgrims travelling from London to Canterbury. In this version, eight of the tales are presented as part of an annual “Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales Storytelling Competition”.

The featured tales reflect the variety of the original with presentations that feature heroic love, singing hens, slapstick and a healthy dose of near the knuckle humour. In fact the show is described as “bold, boisterous and bawdy”.

Director John Haswell said: “The approach adopted by the company is best described as ‘Carry on Canterbury’. Some of the original tales are very rude and this is reflected in the show. However, it is hopefully a very funny show in the tradition of much of British comedy.

“For the young cast one of the most difficult tasks has been to adopt different theatrical styles for the tales and perform some of these in a manner that reflect elements of the worst excesses of amateur dramatics.”

The production features a company of 30 who have worked intensively on the show for the past month, giving up much of their school holidays. Featuring live music by Philip Taylor and technical design by David Wagstaff, the production promises to feature all the creativity and flair associated with the nationally renowned company but unusually, with less of the angst and misery that define so many of the productions.

This vulgar romp through the nether regions of medieval storytelling is performed at the Garrison Theatre on next Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm. On the Saturday there is a performance at 2.30 pm. Tickets priced £7/£5 (concessions) are available from Shetland Box Office on (01595) 745555.


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