The Three Musketeers by Linda Alper have swash-buckled their way onto the stage at Shea’s 710 Theatre and they, along with upstart would-be musketeer D’Artagnan and the large supporting cast, do justice to Director Chris Kelly’s promised evening of action, adventure, and romance.
The show is the much-anticipated collaboration of Irish Classical Theatre Company, MusicalFare Theatre, Road Less Traveled Productions, Shea’s and Theatre of Youth. Naming their new company "All For One Theatre Productions," the person in charge of each theater appeared briefly on stage to welcome the audience and Mayor and Mrs. Brown to this historic event and take a selfie with the audience at the behest of Scott Behrend of RLTP.
In the play, Young D’Artagnon comes to Paris from the country smelling like an “Andalusian goat” to join the Musketeers like his father before him. He is eventually accepted by Captain Treville who fought with his father, but unknowingly runs afoul of each of the very musketeers he wishes to join. He sets up a duel at a different hour of the day with each one, and as the musketeers realize they have all agreed to fight the same person on the dueling ground, they are set upon by the guards of Cardinal Richelieu. D’Artagnon joins the musketeers in the fight and is accepted by them. Then palace intrigue instigated by the Cardinal sets in motion all that follows. Many short scenes ensue in two acts.
An upstage raised platform with railings and two staircases is the only set piece. The rest of the thrust stage is open, the better to allow swordplay with as many as ten or twelve women and men involved in intricate fighting, and not just with swords. Brooms, frying pans, baskets, hidden stilettos and fists are also in play. Some of the fighting takes place in the aisles, which brings the clash of steel very close indeed. Fight Director Steve Vaughan has choreographed these eye-popping battles with great expertise. As far as I could tell, there were only fake injuries and no real ones, a testament to the skill and self-preservation instincts of the actors, as well as the quality of the instruction.
As to the actors, Patrick Cameron’s D’Artagnon is the innocent country boy with fire, determination and a tender and generous heart. You know he is aware of his naïvete but is never deterred by it. He plunges right into whatever fight comes his way in the cause of justice and to save his queen. Mr. Cameron is comical in his earnestness and clumsiness, and very sweet in his devotion to his beloved Constance, although his devotion does not deter him from tasting the confections offered by the spurious Milady, the Countess. He has everyone rooting for him when he declares, “I have the heart and soul of a musketeer!” He is a very engaging D’Artagnon.
Vanity thy name is Steve Copps as Porthos, the blustering musketeer who is overly fond of his physique and his sense of style. Mr. Copps exaggerates how many foes he has vanquished as he struts and poses, telling the audience of his conquests, inflating the cost of his clothing and the beauty of his secret lover. Mr. Copps plays it straight, completely unaware of how ridiculous he appears, which of course makes his role even more amusing.
Anthony Alcocer is the passionate Aramis, equally in love with the Church and with women. Mr. Alcocer moves with ease from one to the other and back again. Passion is passion, right? He is not at all concerned about fidelity, but always ready to defend his country.
Christopher Avery is the honorable Athos, who is the most willing of the musketeers to take D’Artagnon under his wing, and is also the holder of a secret. Mr. Avery has a gentle presence that belies the fierceness of his commitment to justice.
Jordan Levin is superb as the foppish King Louis XIII. He is silly and knows it and does not care. As he explains in the card game he plays with his queen, "The Fool can do things the other cards cannot." Kate LoConti is the evil Milady. She plays the part, not with a cackling witch-type evil, but rather a piercing cold maliciousness that is even more chilling. Brrr! Chris Hatch is the oily and vicious Count de Rochefort, who is charged by the Cardinal (Peter Palmisano) to betray the queen by whatever means necessary. Renee Landrigan is D’Artagnon’s love interest, Constance. Cassie Cameron is a regal Queen Anne, and Fisher is Captain Treville. All do fine jobs in their roles. Adam Yellen has some very funny moments as the fawning Bonacieux. Melinda Capeles Rowe, Adam Rath as the wise servant Planchet, Lamont Singletary and Nick Stevens round out the very strong cast. Mr. Kelly allows each of the actors in smaller roles to have moments on stage that give life to their characters.
Lighting & Sound is by Chris Cavanagh, Costumes by Dixon Reynolds, Hair, Wigs, and Makeup by Susan Drozd, and Choreography by Bobby Cooke.
The 3 Musketeers is a testamony to what local theaters and individual talents are capable of as a group. Let us hope that they decide to continue their collaboration for years to come. They have provided a crackerjack evening of action, adventure, and romance that is charming, witty, very physically demanding, and quite delightful.