The Canterbury Tales Remixed

This production modernises the art of Chaucerian storytelling to make accessible the humour and bawdiness of The Canterbury Tales. Using rap, music, visual projection and frequent reference to pop culture, Baba Brinkman retells a selection of Chaucer’s stories, with Mr Simmonds on the decks.

Walks the line between the utterly hilarious and the awkwardly cringeworthy

The show walks the line between the utterly hilarious and the awkwardly cringeworthy. Brinkman wonderfully satirises celebrity culture to great comic effect, but hearing the characters of The Pardoner’s Tale referred to as “gangster” and “badass” feels overly contrived. Similarly, the use of projected images in the background is sometimes successful in adding to the humour (particularly where celebrities’ heads are collaged onto characters’ bodies) but at others the use of mediocre cartoons limits rather than expands the world Brinkman’s words depict.

Between raps, Brinkman talks about storytelling, comparing his renditions of the tales with how they would have originally been told; credit to him for an impressive Middle English accent. His talks are erudite and engaging, particularly when he discusses the use of anachronism to make the stories accessible.

However, Brinkman has set himself an impossible task. Chaucer’s storytelling was cutting edge popular entertainment for its time, and this production can’t shock and delight a modern audience in the same manner, because seven-hundred years of more shocking, more bawdy literature has been written since the days of Chaucer. This is not to say that Chaucer’s work cannot still be enjoyed today – this show is proof to the contrary – but that the only way to really evoke the same audience response as Chaucer would have received is to be using new material as well.

This is a humorous – if at points cringeworthy – production, which can be enjoyed regardless of whether you’ve got a copy of The Canterbury Tales on your bookshelf or not. Brinkman’s goal of trying to evoke a sense of Chaucerian storytelling is, however, unachievable, despite the clever homage to Chaucer’s self-referentiality on which he ends.

Reviews by Megan Dalton


Light Killer

Paradise in The Vault

House of Tragic She

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Making Light

Upstairs @ Le Monde

Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes

Assembly George Square Studios

The Marijana Method


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Chaucer’s classic tales as you’ve never seen them before, with sparkling wordplay, live turntablism, and seriously medieval swagger. Comedic hip-hop storytelling fresh from New York's Soho Playhouse, with music by Mr Simmonds, written and performed by Fringe First Award Winner Baba Brinkman (The Rap Guide to Evolution, 2009). What happens when Eminem meets the Wife of Bath? Hilarity ensues. ‘Delightful’ (New York Times). ‘Truly awe-inspiring’ ***** (Scotsman). ‘Warm, funny, and fascinating throughout’ ***** ( ‘Genius... staggeringly clever’ ***** (ThreeWeeks).

Most Popular See More


From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Heathers The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets