The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas

Dates 18 - 25 November 2006 Venue Capilano College of Performing Arts Theatre

Reviewer John Jane

Capilano College remained closed last week due to a break of one of the Greater Vancouver Regional District's water mains from Seymour reservoir. This caused the cancellation of the Thursday and Friday performances. In an unrelated incident, the stage floor was damaged by water and had to be restored. After being plagued by such setbacks, the cast and crew of The Three Musketeers deserve praise just for getting this Exit22 production onto the stage.

This adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling classic is extremely light-hearted and even has a fair measure of slapstick. It’s also entertaining and considering the experience of cast members, performed with some skill.

The story is set in seventeenth century France with the main character not yet one of the Musketeers. He is a young adventurer from rural Gascony named d’Artagnan whose father sends him to Paris to join the Musketeers. On his way there, he is beset by mishaps caused mostly from his own impetuousness and clumsiness.

D’Artagnan joins forces with Porthos, Athos and Aramis who undertake a daring mission to save the Queen’s honour. It was unclear whether d’Artagnan’s real motive was to gain entry into the Musketeers or to improve his chances of gaining favour with Constance Bonacieux, the queen’s confidante.

Colin Sheen did well in the central role of d’Artagnan. He was occasionally guilty of hurrying his lines and his voice barely carried beyond the tenth row, but to be fair he had a lot of difficult lines to deal with.

Younger members of the audience seemed to enjoy the antics of Dave Miller as Bonacieux (Constance’s husband), though for me, his comic style was way over-the-top. By contrast, Sereana Malani’s performance may have suffered somewhat from her taking herself too seriously in the part of Queen Anne.

Stand-out performances came from Jordan Waunch as the foppish Louis XIII and Leala Selina as Milady de Winter, the conniving English seductress. With a perfect combination of humour and nefariousness, she all but stole the second act.

Costumes were great and accurately characteristic of seventeenth century France. They were created by students of the college’s Costume for the Stage Program.

Exit22, creatively named after the Trans-Canada Highway exit that will take you to Capilano College in North Vancouver, is the production unit of the Theatre Arts Program. It provides an opportunity for students to perform in front of a paying audience.

© 2006 John Jane