Hollywood In Its Heyday
The Three Musketeers
Review for The Stage
The presence of renowned fight director Richard Ryan among the credits for the Bristol Old Vic’s Christmas offering ensures that the sword-wielding is breathtakingly authentic. The big question is whether this new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic adventure is just as skilful.
Wisely, writer Ken Ludwig and director Timothy Sheader have decided the roller-coaster narrative needs to be shifted considerably forward from the early 1600s in which it is set. At first there are suggestions, even fears, of a cross between Carry On D’Artagnan and traditional pantomime, especially with the early send-up of D’Artagnan’s horse, which is actually called Buttercup in the original text. But director and cast move rapidly on to establish just the right seasonal mix of low comedy, stirring music, catchphrases ancient and modern and designs that suggest Hollywood in its heyday.
One of the main themes is D’Artagnan’s rite of passage from country yokel to brave upholder of right against wrong, enhanced by the casting of the dashing young George Rainsford in his professional debut. Gerald Kyd, Paul Agar and Vyelle Croom find time, amid the swashbuckling, to capture the Musketeers’ individual idiosyncrasies, with Laura Rogers suggesting a touch of Rita Hayworth as the evil Milady de Winter and Robin Sebastian a dastardly Cardinal Richelieu. The introduction of a new character in a bid to give the Musketeers a more feminine feel - in D’Artagnan’s sister Sabine - is only a qualified success, despite Samantha Robinson’s feisty interpretation of the role.
Alexandre Dumas, a new version by Ken Ludwig
Bristol Old Vic
Paul Agar, Julien Ball, Paul Benzing, Vyelle Croom, Fiona Dunn, Gerald Kyd, George Rainsford, Samantha Robinson, Laura Rogers, Robin Sebastian, Charity Wakefield, Marcello Walton
Old Vic Bristol
December 2 2006-January 20 2007
Vyelle Croom as Aramis and Samantha Robinson as Sabine in the Bristol Old Vic production of The Three Musketeers; PC: Alastair Muir