The productions formed part of the RSC’s non-Shakespeare season this past winter (ahead of the recently launched year-long Complete Works festival), running in Stratford-upon-Avon 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. A cast of 20 perform all 23 of Chaucer’s bawdy tales of pilgrims on the road to Canterbury, directed by Gregory Doran, Rebecca Gatward and Jonathan Munby (See News, 26 Apr 2005).
While overnight critics found faults in the epic undertaking, they also saw plenty to be impressed with, and came away with a (perhaps too) thorough knowledge of the bawdy shenanigans of Chaucer’s pilgrims. The two-part, six-hour performance left most wanting to applaud the audience – as well as the cast – for their sheer endurance.
- by Caroline Ansdell