Saturday, May 24, 2014

"The Three Musketeers" Is A Sword Cut Above The Rest--Now Showing At The James F. Theatre

In earlier times, a gentleman's way of addressing personal insults was to cross blades in an affair called the duel, which was all done in a very orderly fashion, and the insult could be something as simple as making fun of a man's horse or bumping shoulders on the street.

Can you imagine; Sir, I prefer you not park your Fix Or Repair Daily truck next to my Dodge Ram." "Sir, how dare you insult my truck. I demand satisfaction. Prepare to draw your sword." "I will be honored to accommodate you, Sir. Perhaps, we can settle this at 2 pm behind the James F. Dean Theatre."

You can get a glimpse of those colorful days, when tyranny and treachery were cloaked in elegance and le savoir-faire, in Jason Olson's adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers." It slashed its way onto the stage at the James F. Dean Theatre on Friday, May 23rd. The Flowertown Players cast and crew delivered a perfectly executed "coup de main,"--they killed it.

Alexandre Dumas was a practicing fencer and like many other French gentlemen of his generation he attended all the tops schools. With this knowledge, he created the ever popular story of "The Three Musketeers." It is a tale about the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan(Zach Smith) and his quest to join the Musketeers of the Guard in Paris. D'Artagnan becomes a companion to the inseparable friends Athos; a man with a secret(Alex Smith), flamboyant Porthos(Jason Olson) and the younger, religious Aramis(Ian Bonner). Together they form a bond characterized by the motto "tous pour un, un pour tous"--"All for one, one for all."

As an adaptation, the incorporation of the narrative was brilliant and handled brilliantly by Adolphus Williams(Dumas) and Jamie Young(August). The pair drew much of the laughs as they set the scenes and filled in the finer details.

Behind the scenes, top honors go to the costume designers under the direction of Bruce Bryson. The costumes were appropriately fashionable to the time and quite colorful. They infused the play with life and added a sophisticated realism to the single set stage--the study of Alexander Dumas.

The cast and crew in this play are numerous. I counted 34 participants. At times, the action was furious and what I observed on opening night, was executed very smoothly. There are numerous duels and sword fights, a few chase scenes, and a fair share of romantic encounters. After all, it was an age of chivalry and they are French, for the most part. There is an Englishman called the Duke of Buckingham played by Christopher Miller. After observing his mannerisms and speech on stage, he could very easily pass for a renaissance man--nicely done Christopher.


Katie Sigg(love torn Queen Anne), Blair Cadden((the treacherous Milady de Winter), and Kaitlin Berry(irresistible Constance Bonacieux) added the softer, female touch to a story that was otherwise oozing with gentlemanly testosterone.

To close out the action, d'Artagnan finally gets satisfaction and faces-off in a duel with Rochefort(JC Conway). This in itself is worth the price of the ticket.

JC Conway, along with David Hatch, were the Fight Choreographers for the play. A salute goes to the director, Julie Hammond. This is her first production for the Flowertown Players. The play required a huge cast and was filled with complicated choreography. She brought it all together along with her supporting team. Other notables: Larry Wineland(Cardinal Richelieu) and Chad Estel(enthusiastic Treville); and congratulations to the rest of the cast--too many to mention here by name.

"The Three Musketeers" will be running from May 23rd to June 8th. Purchase your tickets here.

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