The story, set in 1625 France, begins with a young man named D'Artagnan leaving home to move to Paris and join the Musketeers in protection of the King, as his father did before him. In this version of the story, he brings his little sister Sabine along with him, which I'm pretty sure was not part of the original, but is one way in which the playwright modernizes the story and makes it more relevant to today's audience - bringing more women into the story and giving them more agency. The siblings encounter many adventures along the way, and get in many sword fights, eventually befriending the titular three musketeers - Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Both siblings fall in love and fight alongside or in protection of their beloved, and become enemies of Cardinal Richelieu, who's trying to undermine the King and Queen by exposing the Queen's affair. In the end, our heroes win out, but not without some tragedy along the way.
Eric Morris, a familiar face on stages around town, makes his Lakeshore Players Theatre debut directing this piece, imbuing it with energy, hilarity, and joy. The large and talented cast (although sadly lacking in diversity) fully embodies this almost campy tone, and performs some wicked fight choreography by Mason Tyler (during one intense fight scene I heard a young audience member say "this is sick," I think that's a good thing). There are too many sword fights to count, from one-on-one battles, to ten or more people moving all around the stage clanging swords. On top of that there are also some impressive hand-to-hand combat scenes, with some crazy lifts that hopefully are not as dangerous as they look. It's a beautiful dance, including some slo-mo fighting, and there's some actual dancing too, with a fun soundtrack of pop music from different eras, including '80s (sound design by Nathaniel Glewwe). The play spills off the stage and into the audience, with the cast moving up and down the aisles and along the sides, for an immersive experience.
|Athos (Jake Stone), Porthos (Mary Karcz), and Aramis|
(Christopher Kent, photo by M&D Media)
The look of the show is more modern and colorful than authentic period piece, which fits well with the tone of the play. Four large cylindrical platforms adorn the stage, with characters leaping from one to the next, requiring a certain physicality of movement from the start. There are some clever things done with lighting, creating tableaux, and the costumes are a fun mix of modern and period, with lots of leather, denim, and fleur de lis. (Lighting design by Alex Clark, costume design by Sarah Christenson.)
Lakeshore Players Theatre's production of the classic story of The Three Musketeers, with a fun and modern twist, is solid entertainment from start to finish, with lots of excitement and comedy along the way.