Winnipeg Free Press reviewer Jill Wilson said she just couldn’t help using the word ‘swashbuckling’ to describe the performance of The Three Musketeers currently on the John Hirsch mainstage at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre.
The word that came to mind for me was rollicking. It means exuberantly lively and amusing and the play was certainly that.
I was entertained thoroughly. I don’t think I closed my eyes once, even though I’d put in 12,000 steps of walking in a cold wind before the matinee performance, something that usually sets me up for a nice long winter nap in the afternoon.
I LOVED the costumes and the cool explanations about them in the program by costume designer Michelle Bohn. I learned what a panache, a baldric and a virago were.
I thought the set designed by Brian Perchaluk was clever and allowed for so many different scenes to be played out at different heights on the stage.
I admired the way most of the actors took on three or four roles and were convincing in all of them.
The four musketeers were funny and had great chemistry and if I would have to quibble with anything it wouldn’t be the way they acted their parts, but with the script itself which portrayed the adventurers as rather shallow in their relationships with women.
D’Artagnan pledges his deep love for his landlord’s daughter Constance and tries to save her when she is arrested. But when she is poisoned by Lady De Winter, D’Arganan despite his dramatic show of sorrow after the death seems to recover just a little too quickly and is ready with a smile on his face and spring in his step for another adventure.
Lady de Winter we find out is the former wife of the musketeer Athos, and although he appears to be devastated about the end of their passionate relationship he manages to twist her neck and kill her when he is afforded the opportunity.
And finally, Porthos who is enamoured with a new widow quickly abandons his vow to marry her when a heroic mission emerges for the Four Musketeers to tackle at the end of the play.
This rather shallow treatment of women by the men in the play was balanced for me by the fact that director Christopher Brauer chose to cast women in a number of the major male roles. I thought for example that Sharon Bajer did a great job in her role as Cardinal Richelieu.
If you are interested in a fun couple of hours of rollicking entertainment the current production of The Three Musketeers at the Royal Manitoba Theatre’s John Hirsch Mainstage is for you.