Fringe-favourite storyteller Erik de Waal reworks five of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales with a modern update, set in de Waal’s native South Africa.
The hour-long one-man show presents these five tales, along with prologue and epilogue, set in the fictional informal settlement of Canterbury, where a group of tourists has come to witness the "real" Africa. Although de Waal writes in the program he didn’t intend the piece to have any serious message, there’s no escaping the political in his prologue and epilogue, skewering the modern touring class looking to "experience" poverty.
De Waal is a master storyteller, and his tales, whether told with puppets or on his own, ranging from the tragic to the bawdy, are expertly crafted. The only downfall is a rather consistent mixing up of characters’ names. For one so skilled, it’s a disconcerting flaw.
Nonetheless, de Waal has audiences eating out the palm of his hand, bringing The Canterbury Tales into the modern age with aplomb.
— Barb Stewart