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Laura Rogers as Milady and George Rainsford as D'Artagnan in the Bristol Old Vic production of The Three Musketeers; PC: Alastair Muir


Swathes of Swash - The Mail On Sunday


The Mail on Sunday

Four Stars

Review by Georgina Brown

This year’s Christmas show at the Bristol Old Vic, The Three Musketeers is strikingly well-staged by Timothy Sheader with swathes of swash (whatever that is), buckets of buckle (ditto), lush music and some dazzling dueling. This is the action-packed romantic adventure of young country boy D’Artagnan.

Sent out into the world to make a musketeer of himself, he finds himself caught up in the intrigue and tension between dastardly Cardinal Richelieu and adulterous Queen Anne.

As he is packed off by his dad not just with his blessing but with his old nag Buttercup, (“Neigh, neigh,” neighs Buttercup; “No, no,” says downcast D’Arty”) I feared we were in for a bit of pantomime. My apprehension grew close to panic when, in a twist to Dumas’ original story, Ken Ludwig’s adaptation gives D’Arty a feisty sister called Sabine, who accompanies him to Paris disguised as his page.

Fortunately, Buttercup makes only a nodding acquaintance, the introduction of some girl power to this boys’ own story works very well, and Ludwig tells a pacy tale with a suitable seasonal mix of merriment, musketeering, romance and the most gruesome stage death (with some fabulous frothing at the mouth) I’ve seen this year.

George Rainsford, in his stage debut, proves a doughy D’Arty. Gerald Kyd, Casualty’s dishiest doctor, makes a particularly dashing Athos, Vyelle Croom is a swaggering Aramis, Paul Agar a foppish Porthos, and a lovely Laura Rogers brings the allure of a Fifties screen siren (complete with beauty spot, scarlet lips and a copper mane) to the part of the evil Milady. She can also pack a wicked punch.

Copyright: The Mail On Sunday, 2006

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