A playful adaptation of The Three Musketeers comes to The Genesian, bringing to life traditional heroes, swashbuckling farm boys and heart-warming charm. This production was close to being a pantomime, with hyperreal acting and energy, over-the-top costumes, simple treachery and obvious eavesdropping into villainous plots. The acting, costuming and set design all emphasised the main values of the play; honour, valour and loyalty. The enthusiasm and pageantry of the production really lifted the performance to be entertaining, humorous and a great night out.
What made the play most entertaining was the acting. The farcical performance of the King from Tim van Zuylen added entertainment and humour, the authenticity of Taddeth Vartanians as d’Artagnan brought genuine sincerity and Elizabeth MacGregor’s performance of Milady de Winter was electric and energetic. Together, entire cast seemed to have an air of playfulness, they looked like they were really enjoying themselves which lifted the production immensely. They weren’t just reading lines off a script, they breathed life into this classic tale.
The modern adaptation of the play stripped back the tale to become a very simple one and, it’s contemporary relevance can be realised through its exploration of moral themes and values. Joanne Coleman’s portrayal of d’Artagnan’s swashbuckling sister, Sabine, showed a strong female lead that placed her equal to her three musketeer friends. Loyalty and genuine kindness came through in d’Artagnan’s pursuit of becoming a Musketeer.
There were also undercurrents that gave the play depth and texture. The mischievous teasing and taunting of the Cardinal, played by John Willis-Richards, brought to light elements of corruption and greed within the official structure of the French royalty. The modern dialogue made playful reference to the Borgias and other historically relevant figures, which made the audience laugh.
Production-wise, the Genesian are fantastic at making use of their stage. With limited floorspace, they had a multipurpose set, which encourages the audience to imagine the space. The scene changes were fast-paced and virtually seamless, running on and off with just enough props to mark the occasion. In doing so, The Three Musketeers had the potential to be a very long night, but their professional staging made the performance slick and the transitions easy to follow for the audience.
Commendations to the costume designer for helping distinguish the multitude of characters played by a finite number of cast. The quality of the costuming really added to the traditionally classic nature of the play. There were also some excellent fight scenes, fencing and combat. These were really well executed and very dynamic.The Three Musketeers at The Genesian is a fun, family friendly night of great entertainment.
Image credit: Grant Fraser