Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 3 January 2003
The Three Musketeers, Australian Shakespeare Company, Jan 4, 2003
Musketeers Touche Productions with Australian Shakespeare Company
Lake Aughtie Drive, Tuesday
to Sunday, January 3 to 18, 2003
Here comes another
summer outdoor classic. All for one and one for all! The Three Musketeers are
sword-fighting around Albert Park Lake for King and country.
This adaptation by
Touche Productions of the famous story has its tongue firmly in its cheek most
of the time. It is very funny
with plenty of swordplay, wordplay, swashbuckling, elaborate 17th
century French costumes, poncing, posing and wig-tossing.
The young D'Artagnan
(Christopher Parker) is sent by
his legendary father to join the Musketeers. He becomes involved
in saving the reputation of the beautiful Queen (Penelope Bartlau) and
protecting the aging King (Bruce Kerr) from the powerful and corrupt
Cardinal Richelieu. ( Bruce
Although the stage
design is simple and uninspiring, the production, directed by Justin
Harris-Parslow is entertaining
with some very fine acting from the entire ensemble.
The Musketeers are a
delightful trio of buffoons with attitude. Jarrod Carland plays the former cleric, Aramis, as a foppish and pious hypocrite.
colour to the portly Porthos, playing
him as a man who prefers food to fighting. As Athos and the Older D'Artagnan, Tom Bradley is compelling and his delivery and
understanding of dialogue is impeccable. Stephen Whittaker relishes his role as the sinister, scheming
Rochford, Richelieu's Angel of
A highlight is Bruce Kerr's loopy King
Louis X111. He skips and prances,
flaps like a bird and prattles like a naughty child. Penelope Bartlau, Kat
Stewart and Belle Armstrong play the three female roles with style
There are some cute
nods to the low budget that get a laugh or two. The Musketeers ride wooden
stick horses. They engage is some goofy slapstick in fight scenes and the frequent
contemporary references that get a hoot from the crowd.
This is a lively and
witty production with an intelligent adaptation and clever acting. The design
is a little clumsy and the location rather too cold and unsheltered beside the
There are moments
when the scene changes lagged and voices were lost on the wind but in general
the three musketeers is a perky outdoor show for the family. Take a bottle of
wine and a rug - or two.