Monday, March 29, 2010

The Canterbury Tales

I've just realised that a few posts ago I promised a review of the Northern Broadsides production of 'The Canterbury Tales' which we saw on March 17th at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle - 'under Lyme' that is and not 'on Tyne'!

We'd booked the tickets way back in January as with all Northern Broadsides productions they sell very quickly. The New Vic is a theatre in the round and we were three rows from the front so quite close to the action and what a lot of action there was!

This production was directed by Conrad Nelson whom I mentioned last year when I wrote about Othello - link - there are twenty nine tales in the original but for this production they had been honed down to around fourteen. Including The Miller's Tale, The Knight's Tale, The Pardoner's Tale and The Wife of Bath.

I'm always amazed by this company of actors of whom just sixteen become so many as they change characters, move props as they cross the stage, play musical instruments, clog dance and create puppets of children out of bits of blankets before your very eyes.

The sheer talent, ability, agility and superb split- second timing was a joy to behold. It was loud, colourful and being Chaucer bawdy too. We laughed a lot but there were some touching moments too. It was another superb evening to remember from the wonderful Northern Broadsides company!


  1. I don't think I've ever read 'The Canterbury Tales'. One to put on my to read list I think!

  2. I think I've mentioned before that I hated Chaucer at school.
    Maybe I need to see a theatre production to appreciate it fully, instead of studying the Wife of Bath with a very embarrassed spinster English teacher in an all girls convent school! She just couldn't cope with the bawdy bits so we missed them out!!!
    Your theatre trip sounds much more fun.
    Love Kathy xxx

  3. It sounds like a great production. I'm sure I have seen something by the Northern Broadsides company at our local theatre - The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds - but cannot think what it was at the moment, it may have been Shakespeare. We went to see The Lady Vanishes on Saturday - at the said theatre - and it was very good.

    Excellent review Rosie.

    Jeanne x

  4. I'd love to see this production.Glad you enjoyed it :)

  5. Thanks for reminding me that I had forgotten to book for Cantebury Tales at the Crucible in Sheffield - Ive done it now! Ive checked and its not the same production company though, so I shall let you know what it is like. Did you like the film "A Knights Tale" with Heath Ledger? It is one of my (many) faves. Hope you have a great Easter Rosie, and lets hope we get plenty of sunshine so that we have to venture no further than the garden!! xxxx

  6. This sounds like a wonderful production and they included so many of the stories. I can understand why it was loud, colourful, and bawdy.

  7. I think I have been in that theatre when my OH was at university at keele.We also went to the theatre to see 39 Steps.Hopefully The canterburt Tales may come to our theatre if they are touring.Sounds like a great production.

  8. Thanks as ever for all your kind comments!

    Diane - I did enjoy the film - seems ages ago since I saw it:)