The RSC's alternative Christmas show this year: a new two-part dramatisation of one of the greatest books in the English language "Befell that in that season on that day/ In Southwark at The Tabard - as I lay/ Ready to wenden on my pilgrimage/ To Canterb'ry with full devout courage -/ At night was come into that hostelry/ Well nine-and-twenty in a company/ Of sundry folk, by aventure yfall/ In fellowship...And pilgrims were they all/ That toward Canterb'ry would ride..." So says Chaucer as he strides on stage to set the scene for Mike Poulton's spring-heeled dramatisation of The Canterbury Tales. The much-lauded RSC director, Gregory Doran, will stage this two-part adaptation of all 23 of the tales in the beautiful and atmospheric Swan Theatre, Stratford. All the famous characters are here - as well as many less well-known but equally full of life. Each of the stories has its own style - heroic verse for the Knight's Tale, vernacular rhymes for the Miller's Tale etc. - mirroring the many narrative voices employed by Chaucer himself.