However, if you are looking for character development and storyline depth, I suggest USF’s “Henry V.”
Two plays with French and English politics and battles take the stage at the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre this season and while they both have some fantastic sword play and battle bonding, they are very different. Really, it comes down to what experience you are looking for from USF.
Three Musketeers is light adventure (although the script tries to be moody and dark at times) that tells the story of d’Artagnan (Luigi Sottile) on his way to become a musketeer for the King of France. In Ken Ludwig’s version of Alexandre Dumas’ novel, d’Artagnan’s spunky sister Sabine (Sceri Sioux Ivers) is sent with her brother to Paris to attend school. But she has other plans. She wants to experience the world before she gets sent to a nunnery for school.
In fact, this is a play of schemes. And the play is a race to make sure no one, especially the Queen of France, finds themselves trapped by their schemes.
Sabine poses as d’Artagnan’s servant on their journey and arrival in Paris to avoid school. d’Artagnan’s impetuous youthful temper gets him into a fight with almost every man that comes into his path, including Cardinal Richelieu’s henchman, Rochefort, and the three friends/musketeers: Athos, Porthos and Aramis. As d’Artagnan prepares to fight all three musketeers in separate duels they are accosted by Rochefort and instead of dueling the likable but easily angered wannabe musketeer they decide they have a common enemy and choose to join ranks against the Cardinal and his men. The three musketeers, d’Artagnan, and Sabine soon find they have joined the fight to protect the Queen’s reputation, each other and the status quo of France’s relationship with England. “One for all. And all for one.”
There is a lot to love in this play: beautiful extravagant costumes (by David Kay Mickelsen, a seasoned costume designer for USF), satisfying sword play (thanks to fight director David Woolley), and superb actors and an action-packed story.
Why, oh, why could I not love it as much as the rest of the USF plays this year? It really has everything to do with the script. While the addition of Sabine added a twist to this adaptation that was fun and sassy, the other characters never show much character development and aside from the villains, Cardinal Richelieu and Milady (who were actually fantastic), there was little depth to the characters. They just were not written that way. I guess I was disappointed because I have seen these actors perform more demanding characters this year. A shout out has to go to Melinda Parrett for her complicated and duplicitous portrayal of Milady and Peter Lohnes diabolical Cardinal Richelieu. It’s a little confusing when I walk out of a play about 17th Century heroes, thinking the villains had the best lines. I was also a little confused at whose honor deserved to be protected, certainly not the philandering queen.
Script problems aside, there are some amazing actors on the “Three Musketeers” stage and they seem to enjoy themselves in this lighthearted, swashbuckling adventure. Sottile is a lovable youth on the verge of manhood and Ivers steals the spotlight every time she is on stage. Athos (J. Todd Abrams), Porthos (Todd Denning) and Aramis (Tasso Feldman) are all great at portraying swaggering do-gooders. If you are looking for a play with some fun adventure, “Three Musketeers” is an easy night at the theatre.