Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a bawdy classic written 700 years ago. It centres on a group of pilgrims who entertain one another with stories as they ride to Canterbury Cathedral. But despite the apparently holy purpose of their journey these travellers reveal themselves as sinners rather than saints. The pilgrims contrasting and colourful backgrounds offer many different stories, from the serious and moral to the farcical and bawdy, proving that like Shakespeare after him, Chaucer was 'not for an age but for all time . The work is adapted by Mike Poulton, and directed by Gregory Doran, Rebecca Gatward, and Jonathan Munby.
Part I consists of The Knight, The Miller and Other Tales. The pilgrims' journey begins with the pageantry and spectacle of The Knight's Tale as chivalrous rivals compete for their love's affections. Later love is of a different vein in the shap of the bawdy Miller's Tale, before the farmyard chaos of the Nun's Priest's Tale as the vain cockerel Chaunticleer is abducted by the wily col-fox.
Part II consists of The Wife of Bath and Other Tales. As the colourful characters near Canterbury, perhaps the most famous of the pilgrims, the worldly-wise Wife of Bath, regales her fellow travellers, with tales of unfortunate and downtrodden husbands. In contrast, the Franklin tells of his romance of Arveragus, Aurelius and Dorigen, steeped in the lofty ideals of chivalry and courtly love.