Sometimes, less is more. For instance, who needs a band when you can hit the right note with a kazoo and harp?
Why splash out on a big, lavish and expansive set when just a few screens and a slightly raised stage will do just nicely? And why do you need a big cast when your talented cohort is more than capable of taking on multiple roles?
Kat Wootton firmly grasped this nettle of thought as she let the comedy do the talking in her stripped-back version of the Chaucer classic The Canterbury Tales.
Performed by fewer than a dozen Lion and Unicorn actors, hers was a slightly anarchic show with undercurrents of Monty Python and Blackadder running through its Middle English veins.
With no disrespect to the 2014 cast, her version was funnier. There was a joyful abandon in the performances and no-one took themselves seriously, with the squawks of avian joy in The Nun’s Priest Tale being an example.
There were nice nods to the past and tradition was upheld in The Pardoner’s Tale when an unsuspecting audience member was dragged on to the floor to play Ambroeus. He did well, too, dropping to his knees in style as death came calling.
Two of the performers from that tale, Joff Lacey and Jack May, had a busy evening as they each played 11 roles. Radio presenter Lacey channelled his inner Lord Flashheart in The Wife of Bath’s Tale (ding dong!) while May looked and sounded every bit the hipster beatnik artist in The Miller’s Tale.
There were shades of Helen Mirren in Beryl Savill’s portrayal of Queen Guinevere in the same tale, and Miri Bradder brought plenty of youthful energy to her three roles.
But everyone had their moments, be them small or large. And the intimate confined space of the Butser Ancient Farm roundhouse was the perfect conduit for this small but perfectly formed production on June 17. Can’t wait to see the next one in 2032.