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A CurtainUp Review
The Canterbury Tales Remixed
The premise of The Canterbury Tales Remixed is simple — storytelling is an age-old tradition; storytelling live (theater) is really just as old. Brinkman loves classic literature, loves storytelling, loves rapping. And so he presents his audience with rapped, modernized versions of five classic tales. For the interludes in between, he sometimes gives a brief intro for the approaching central characters, sometimes he gives explanations for his choices – for this show, even. Brinkman has spend years rapping about classic literature, in fact this convergence of two art forms started for him a decade ago back in college, while studying these classics in classrooms.
Brinkman is comfortable on stage. He hangs out up there, moving around casually, keeping the show rolling forward with the aid of the DJ and a projection screen of images to accompany the tales. The projections are rough-hewn stop-animation, with a combination of old images and new. Perhaps the image of King Arthur’s knight has been extrapolated from a Middle Ages painting; perhaps he is alongside an image of a 21st Century celebrity.
The remixed tales are concocted similarly to the video — the traditional core is still there, and the plot is basically the same. But references have become current (Jennifer Aniston, Bill Clinton. . .) and the language is (of course) clever rapping rhymes.
The show is fun, and it highlights the timelessness of a good story. But I was expecting an event that took the tales even further into current day with additional adaptation. And the departing message of Brinkman — though noble — seemed a copout, getting away with not tying together the various tales or messages within.
The evening was fun, yes, and Brinkman’s love for these tales in their original form is clear. These adaptations are not full of moments or images that will stick with me long term, but I will remember Brinkman and his eagerness to rap.
Anything Goes Cast Recording
Our review of the show
Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show
Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company