The Lieder’s Theatre’s fast-paced Three Musketeers lives up to its billing as a “Swashbuckling Romantic Comedy” with real sword fighting, passionate intrigue, and laughs. Lots of laughs.
Ken Ludwig’s retelling of Dumas’ classic novel encapsulates the complex web of deceit between a multitude of characters, but it's the comic timing and on-stage chemistry of the Lieder cast that keep the story completely engaging and immediately accessible.
Ludwig’s script and the cast’s clever delivery combine to serve up a delightful mix of historical references and wonderfully lowbrow punchlines. The gorgeous music, lighting and 1600’s costumes enhance the rapidly changing melodramatic moods without overshadowing the story.
Especially thrilling was the visual overture at the start of Act 2 which wordlessly retells Act 1 in a flurry of dance and conflict between every member of the cast. The Lieder’s production team seems to be going from strength to strength after a very successful 2018 season.
It’s clear from the start that this cast genuinely enjoys pushing each other to duel harder and deliver bigger moments of peril and slapstick to each performance. The audience is immediately swept up in the action as rambunctious swordplay and extremely physical comedy get hurled about in scene after scene. Even the balconies and other features of the beautifully designed set are used by the actors to squeeze a few extra laughs into the action. Director Chrisjohn Hancock has somehow got the cast to tread a fine line between hysterical farce and a sincere morality tale about honour.
Harrison Treble and Hannah Cotton convey a sweet combination of cheeky sibling rivalry and a true family bond as protagonist D’Artagnan and his brave sister Sabine. Marianne Powles and Ryan Paranthoiene repeatedly steal scenes in wonderfully over-the-top portrayals of French royals who make a game of every scandal around them. Erin Williams and Blake Selmes bring a delightful wickedness to the stage as Rod McConnell’s Cardinal Richelieu twists the plot. The Musketeers themselves keep the whole story firmly grounded in loyalty. Martin Sanders, Andy Picker and Josh Waters each embody a unique facet of the Musketeers’ collective spirit… raucous, devout and gallant. Courtney McKenzie, Jock McLean, Evan Goad and dying-on-stage specialist Ben Pik tirelessly round out this talented and funny cast.
As we saw in 2017's production of Ludwig's "Baskerville", half of the fun of this show is the surprise of seeing most of the actors show up onstage in wildly diverse multiple roles. And did I mention the great sword fighting?
The show continues until March 23, with performances at 7.30pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights and a matinee at 2pm on March 23.
Visit www.liedertheatre.com or the Goulburn Medical Clinic in McKell Place for bookings and more information or call the Lieder Theatre on 4821 5066.