As previously tipped (See The Goss, 8 May 2006), the Royal Shakespeare Company’s two-part adaptation of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales will transfer this summer to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, where it’s expected to start performances from 13 July 2006 (exact dates tbc).

The transfer means back-to-back RSC productions at the Gielgud, where the company’s tribute revival of Arthur Miller’s 1953 classic The Crucible - which opened to strong reviews on 5 April 2006 (previews from 29 March) and is presented by the same commercial producers, Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt - will now finish one week early, on 10 June 2006, when its star Iain Glen, who plays John Proctor, must leave due to filming commitments.

Like The Crucible, Mike Poulton’s two-part adaptation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s medieval classic formed part of the RSC’s non-Shakespeare season in Stratford-upon-Avon this past winter (ahead of the recently launched year-long Complete Works festival). It ran in repertory at Stratford from 1 December 2005 to 4 February 2006 (previews from 16 November) before embarking on a UK tour and transferring to Washington DC’s Kennedy Center, where it finished on 7 May.

The production is currently back in the UK for additional regional dates ahead of visiting Spain until 1 July. It features all 23 of Chaucer’s bawdy tales of pilgrims on the road to Canterbury in two self-contained parts, directed by Gregory Doran, Rebecca Gatward and Jonathan Munby (See News, 26 Apr 2005).

In The Canterbury Tales, Paola Dionisotti plays the Prioress with Claire Benedict as the Wife of Bath. The rest of the cast are Michael Jibson as well as Nick Barber, Daon Broni, Dylan Charles, Lisa Ellis, Christopher Godwin, Michael Hadley, Anna Hewson, Edward Hughes, Michael Mateus, Barry McCarthy, Chu Omabala, Ian Pirie, Joshua Richards, Christopher Saul, Katherine Tozer and Darren Tunstall.

- by Caroline Ansdell