Action blockbusters at the movies are a pretty big growth industry these days, and I’ll admit to having partaken of my fill over the years. But why should the Marvel Cinematic universe have ALL the fun?
Down at ye olde Ottawa Little Theatre, the gang has thrown their century+ weight behind an All-for-One-and-One-for-All production of Ken Ludwig’s THE THREE MUSKETEERS, based natcherly on the Alexandre Dumas swashbuckler classic. The story follows young up-and-coming swordsman D’Artagnan (Robbie Clement) as he heads to Paris to join the vaunted Musketeer ranks and protect the King and Queen (Jacob Benson and Lindsay Laviolette). Trouble unfolds quickly as our young hero accidentally falls afoul of the titular heroes Aramis, Athos and Porthos (Eze Leno, Ian Gillies and Job Dickey) as well as earning the wrathful eye of the nefarious and power-hungry Cardinal Richelieu (Christopher Glenn).
Of course, D’Artagnan and the heroic trio manage to reconcile, and team up to try and protect the realm against Richelieu and his cadre of killers, including Kyla Gray as the cruel Rochefort and Rebecca Laviolette as the deadly Milady. Toss into the mix an innocent lady in waiting (Katherine Norland) and D’Artagnan’s feisty little sister Sabine (Emily Walsh) plus a mighty ensemble cast, and the recipe for epic adventure is ready to go!
To say the OLT pulled out all the stops for this show is an understatement. Colossal setpieces, rousing score, gorgeous freaking costumes, projection, fog, swordfight after stellar swordfight, they throw everything in their considerable theatrical arsenal at Dumas’ tale and the end results are a heaping helping of fun and adventure. Clement strikes a solid balance of youthful enthusiasm and derring-do for the anchoring role of D’Artagnan (his scenes with sister Sabine and love interest Constance are quite especially delightful), and the musketeers are as wonderful a bunch of heroes as you could ask for. I was personally thrilled to see fellow OTS alum Kyla Gray returning to the stage, and am happy to say she makes a dandy cutthroat as the smashingly-clad Rochefort. Fellow villainess Rebecca Laviollette steals a good chunk of the show with some frighteningly impressive ass-kicking throughout. And amidst the fights and set pieces (all well done, and only occasionally wearying from sheer volume), solid performances and engaging storytelling abound.
This is a big show, using every inch of the OLT stage and even beyond to make it even larger. Sides, aisles, even spaces outside the theatre all become part of the spectacle in a brash and campy adventure played in deliberately broad strokes by director Stavros Sakiadis. Serious moments are peppered with a much-needed humour that allows the play to laugh at itself instead of sinking into melodrama…not that it shies away from the melodrama when it’s called for. Action, love, honour, betrayal, revenge, treason…it’s got all that good stuff and plenty more. Buckle a swash or two this holiday season, feel like a kid again, or just go ahead and bring the kids. If you want fun…here it is. Peace, love and soul,