The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Three Musketeers
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show May 3 - June 1, 2014
Reviewer Gerry Camp

“The Tree Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas, published in 1884, is the most famous swashbuckler in literature. Made into movies more than 20 times, most famously starring Gene Kelly but also a vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks, Don Ameche, Mickey Mouse, and --- Barbie? On the stage of the Sutter Street Theatre it has been reimagined as a hilarious farce by Sacramento playwright Dana Friedman and directed with emphasis on the action and the laughs by Mike Jimena with fabulous costumes by Elleen Beaver.

Set in Paris in 1625, as the story opens France is in turmoil; war with England seems imminent, encouraged by the evil (and very funny) Cardinal Richelieu (Paul Griesen), who seems to fall asleep frequently in mid-sentence. The cardinal, with his evil ally Lady de Winter (Ellen DiFilippo) is attempting to undermine the marriage of the King (L.J. Lujan) and Queen (Jessica Dardarian) with evidence that the Queen is carrying on an affair with England’s Duke of Buckingham.

Totally unconcerned with the storm that is brewing, the Queen’s Musketeers, Athos (Kevin Judson), Porthos (Brian Boil), and Aramis (Christopher Celestin) are enjoying beer and bread outside a tavern. Enter country bumpkin D’Artagnan, the most unlikely of heroes but, it turns out, the greatest swordsman in France, played with egotistical swagger by Dylan Thuss-Shelley. Dismounting from his horse, L’il Puddin, D’Artagnan is soon involved in a duel with all three Musketeers, with whom he joins forces when the bunch of them is put upon by Cardinal Richelieu’s Guards.

After putting the Guards to rout, the Musketeers learn that D’Artagnan has come to Paris to become one of them. They decide to let him hang around when their landlady (Mary Comstock) enlists them to find her daughter Constance, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious Man in Black. Constance (the charming Jennifer Melikian), one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting, knows of the Queen’s affair and has been abducted to prevent her spoiling the plot against the Queen.

The plot and Constance’s role in it are too complex to spell out here. Constance is soon rescued by D’Artagnan (he calls her Connie), the two fall in love, and the plot is foiled, the royal marriage saved, and D’Artagnan gets his wish fulfilled, all in ways too hilarious to spoil.

In addition to being one of the funniest shows you will see this year, Sutter Street’s version of “The Three Musketeers” is very educational about life and customs in 17th Century France.  You will, for example, learn the answers to these questions: When you ride your horse into Paris and dismount, what do you do with your horse? If you eat in a French restaurant whose specialties are French Fries and French Toast, but you’d rather have fast food, what can you order? If you lose your sword during a ferocious sword fight, what would be an alternative weapon of choice? What does a Cardinal wear under his robes? What is the odor of the Cardinal? Who is the mysterious Man in Black? (The answer is sure to surprise you!)

What you won’t learn: What is a Musketeer anyhow? and Why are there only three—or sometimes four?

If you enjoy plays that are geared for family fun, the reasons you should see this show with your kids are that the slapstick and the action-packed swordfights will delight the children, and there are many adult jokes that will make you laugh out loud.

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