The Citadel Theatre: “The Three Musketeers”

A number of years ago, I remember being drawn to a Fringe show called Klang! Pow! Kersplat! primarily because it was promised that each of the scenes would involve stage fighting. I remember it being very entertaining, and really, I hadn’t seen anything like it before – there’s nothing quite like watching the dance of live, choreographed combat.

When Mack won tickets to The Three Musketeers at the Citadel, I was excited for the promise of stage duelling. We watched it on Sunday, and I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint on the action front. There was so much going on in the first grand fight sequence that it was difficult to keep up with the individual battles – though I suppose that wasn’t really the point. The spectacle of it all was exhilarating, and combined with the lavish costumes and props, definitely a crowd pleaser.

But given the running time of the show was nearly three hours, how the story unfolded became that much more important – the fight scenes couldn’t be the means to the end. I have to say that I wasn’t ultimately that engaged with D’Artagnan’s rise to musketeer status (though Eric Morin did a fine job emanating a nervous energy befitting of the character). My favourite scene was surprisingly one of the quieter moments in the production, when Athos (Kris Joseph) disclosed of his past heartbreak to D’Artagnan. I was actually hoping for more of such exchanges between the would-be musketeer and his mentors – his swift acceptance into the “all for one” trio seemed too expedient.

Tom Wood, who adapted the show, did take liberalities with the ending, understandable because of the production’s family friendly nature. Of his changes, I particularly enjoyed the final confrontation between Athos and Milady de Winter (Melissa MacPherson), which resulted in a much more dramatic, intense end than in Dumas’ original, complete with a resounding flash in the darkness. MacPherson, I should note, was delightfully evil, so much so that I had flashbacks to her equally solid performance as Lady Macbeth at the Freewill Shakespeare Festival last year.

Overall, it was a fun production that lived up to my expectations. The Three Musketeers runs until April 24, 2011.