The Pantaloons are playing at the Gulbenkian on Friday 16th November
“Back by popular demand after a hugely successful open-air tour in 2011, The Pantaloons’ unique version of The Canterbury Tales is hitting the road again in November 2012*. And now it’s better than ever.
In a theatrical first, a cast of just five actors present every single one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s timeless tales in under two hours. Come and join the pilgrims for puppetry and poetry, music and magic, talking chickens and burnt bottoms. Fast-paced, physical and funny, this performance is in modern English and suitable for the whole family.
With no rain to worry about we expect these extra special indoor performances to sell out fast. So don’t delay; book some madcap medieval mayhem today!
Wild, whacky, inventive and delightfully entertaining; the Pantaloons return to Mount Ephraim Gardens on Monday 27 August at 4pm with their production of Oscar Wilde’s classic comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest.
Currently on tour throughout the country, their visit to Mount Ephraim last year with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales was a fantastic and inventive evening’s entertainment for grown-ups and children alike (you can read our review of the occasion here).
Tickets can be booked online here, or find out more about The Pantaloons on their website here. Not to be missed…
With over twenty stories, not including the General Prologue, it would seem nigh-on impossible to cram nearly all of the Canterbury Tales into a mere two hours. Yet with breathtaking scope, dazzling virtuosity and some serious multi-tasking, that is exactly what The Pantaloons have done with their production of Chaucer’s mighty epic.
Playing last night to a large and enthusiastic crowd gathered at Mount Ephraim Gardens, the company display a chameleon-like quality, with a mere six players each changing character in the blink of an eye to bring all the characters in the Tales alive. With such a small company, there’s no respite either; when not acting, then they’re usually providing some musical accompaniment to the action – guitar, clarinet, bass clarinet, melodica, recorder, accordion, including quotes from Mission: Impossible, all make an appearance, and all the cast sing, bursting out into with arias, duets and even barbershop when you least expect it.
Before the play begins, the cast provide musical entertainment or wander amongst the audience in character to welcome them, harangue late-comers, or peddle their medieval wares of dubious quality (not, of course, including the programmes!).
There’s a real sense, too, of warmth emanating from the players towards the audience, which is reciprocated in equal measure. The players have fun with the audience, involving them – there’s a moment or two of audience participation, including turning them into an Angry Mob complete with fist-waving as well. The play is peppered with the occasional nod to contemporary culture too, in knowingly anachronistic asides which add to the fun.
What impresses the most, however, is the sheer variety with which the Tales are realised. There’s riotous action, but there’s also puppetry, limericks, rap, improvised comedy, and a tale-in-thirty-seconds as well; the puppet-show realisation is narrated whilst faceless puppets act out the tale, and is in places equally funny and beautifully moving. The Miller’s Tale, with its famous poker-and-posterior moment, is a lively romp; the Reeve’s Tale, with its nocturnal mistaken bed-hopping, brings the bedroom-farce alive with terrific humour; in contrast, the Second Nun’s Tale becomes a lightning-quick opera packed with famous musical references including the ‘Flower Duet’ from Lakme and more, delivered with real musicality.
The play works for both adults and children alike, with Chaucer’s famous vulgarity handled with delightful aplomb. Ranging from farce to ribald humour, romance and slapstick, the rich variety of Chaucer’s social commentary as he pokes fun at social class, mocks religion, greed and lust, is all presented in a vibrant, dynamic production that keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek throughout.
It’s a very physical production, with the hard-working players climbing in and out of the window, dashing around the stage, mock-brawls, moving in and out of the audience, and generally seeming to fill three times as much space as the set would seem to allow.
The play finishes with improvised comedy, as the Squire finally gets to tell his Tale by taking ideas from the audience and making up a tale on the spot, in song, accompanying himself on the guitar whilst the rest of the players act out his impromptu tale.
The company tours extensively throughout the year – check out their diary on-line and don’t miss the opportunity to see them if they turn up at a venue near you: you won’t be disappointed. Their tale is done: God save all the rout!
Sunday 28 August at 7pm & Bank Holiday Monday 29 August at 5pm – The Pantaloons Theatre Company bring Chaucer’s pilgrims to life in this brand new adaptation of the medieval classic with a contemporary twist. Expect music, laughter and tears as the pilgrims tell their tales of deception and redemption, magic and majesty, life and death. Oh, and talking chickens. Before the show, audiences can enjoy the ‘Medieval Marketplace’ as the pilgrims attempt to sell their wares and create an authentic Chaucerian atmosphere. Dress for the British summer and bring something to sit on!
Tickets available from Mount Ephraim ticket office and the Woodrose Tea Rooms or view www.thepantaloons.co.uk for more information