Friday, 3 January 2003

The Three Musketeers, Australian Shakespeare Company, Jan 4, 2003

The Three Musketeers  
Touche Productions  with Australian Shakespeare Company
Albert Park Lake Aughtie Drive,  Tuesday to Sunday, January 3 to 18, 2003
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

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 Langdon)

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.

Harris-Parslow lends 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 Vengeance.

 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 and skill.

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 lake.

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.

By Kate Herbert

No comments:

Post a Comment