THE critically-acclaimed Pantaloons theatre company bring their hilarious version of The Canterbury Tales to Arley Hall on Thursday, July 21.

In a theatrical first, The Pantaloons perform every single one of the 24 completed Canterbury Tales; no mean feat considering the play features a cast of just five actors playing over 70 characters in under two hours.

To make it even harder for themselves The Pantaloons are also performing every one of Chaucer’s tales in a different theatrical style; in this total theatre experience, audiences can expect pantomime, puppetry, masks, musicals, mime, farce, reality television, horror and opera.

Even Shakespeare gets a look-in.

The Pantaloons, who have received international acclaim for their ‘classics-with-a-twist’ productions, are breathing new life into this catalogue of medieval misadventures.

The play follows a group of pilgrims who decide to hold a story-telling contest on the road from Southwark to the shrine of St Thomas Beckett in Canterbury.

The pilgrims are from all walks of medieval life and include a Knight, a Miller, a Monk, a Prioress, a Shipman and a rather insatiable Wife of Bath. Their stories are just as diverse, including old favourites such as ‘boy meets girl’, ‘talking chicken meets fox’ and ‘red-hot poker meets naked bottom’.

Anyone unfamiliar with middle English has no need to panic as the show has been newly translated into vibrant modern language.

Mark Hayward, producer and co-author, explains the translating process.

“It’s all about being faithful to the original text whilst making it relevant to a modern audience," he said.

"It’s a tricky line to walk but as we were translating we realised that the key things were to keep it accessible and keep it funny.

“There are several tales that are like mini-plays in themselves.

“Famous ones like The Miller’s Tale and The Wife of Bath’s Tale deserve a proper showing. Other stories have been condensed into sketches, songs or even limericks. Many of the lesser-known tales would be rather unpalatable to a modern audience without a good pinch of irony!”

Like Chaucer’s rude original, the show promises plenty of bawdy fun but, with something for everyone, this family-friendly adaptation is suitable for all ages.

Gather your own group of pilgrims and come enjoy some medieval madness on an epic scale.

Tickets are £14.50 pre-booked and £16.50 on the gate, children £5.

To book go to

The performance starts at 7pm.