Pardoner's Tale - Unicorn Theatre
BRINGING an ancient story to a young and very 21st century audience is not for the fainthearted.
But Tangere Arts is to be totally commended for its take on The Pardoner’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer, now on at the Unicorn Theatre.
Although written about 600 years ago, The Pardoner's Tale, which was once told at the Tabard Inn, just a stone’s throw away from the Tooley Street theatre, has been given a new lease of life and brought bang up to date by the company.
It features actor Gary Lagden and two musicians and foley artists, Hannah Marshall and Christoper Preece, who between them tell the prologue and the tale in all its fantastic detail.
They come onto the stage wearing hooded robes, wafting incense and singing in Latin which all adds to the atmosphere.
For the next hour we learn who and what a pardoner was - a conman who for a price sold so-called pardons which would excuse your sins, including not doing your homework, and guarantee your place in heaven rather than hell - and listened to his tale involving all the seven deadly sins.
Along the way he delights and sometimes scares the mainly young audience with jokes, pardons, music and song to help tell his story.
His tale involves three drunken layabouts who encounter an old man as they set out to try and kill Death. The old man says they will find him under a nearby tree. However, when they arrive they discover a hoard of gold and decide to split it three ways.
But they get greedy and this greed inevitably gets the better of them - and Gary delights in telling it in all its gory detail, brilliantly taking on the personna of all the characters.
It was a fantastic production, beautifully and imaginatively told which captured and retained the audience throughout the whole hour.
The Pardoner's Tale is on at the Unicorn Theatre in Tooley Street until January 31. Tickets cost £16 for adults and £13 concessions. Call the box office on 020 7645 0560.