The Three Musketeers
“All for one and one for all” is the motto for the bumbling, yet witty three musketeers , plus one who’s in an unofficial training capacity, Athos (Jim LeFave), Portos (Kelly C. Henton) and Aramis (Melora Marshall). The young man in training is the overly adventuresome d’Artagnan (Jackson McCord Thompson). All his life, he has longed to be one of the infamous members of the musketeers. He finally gets his chance when he leaves his hometown of Paris and travels on his own to stake his claim. Before he leaves, his father is kind enough, though reluctantly, sends his only son off with a letter of introduction so his adventure would go somewhat smoother. Yeah, good luck with that one. Nothing goes smooth. Along the way, he comes across many characters one of whom steals his letter which makes his arrival to his destination more difficult. It is here that he meets Athos, Portos and Aramis in a cool receiving manner. Athos is the first to challenge D’Artagnan but that duel will have to wait another day. According to Cardinal Richelieu’s guards, dueling is against the law. The four remarkably come together to fight against the cardinal’s rules.
Things become a little sticky when d’Artagnan falls hopelessly in love with lady-in-waiting Constance Bonacieux. The couple arrange Queen Anne of Austria and the Duke of Buckingham, have some alone time. As a token of her affection, she gives her beloved a beautiful and costly diamond necklace that her husband King Louis XIII gave her. Then, everything comes tumbling down like a bad deck cards. Under the diabolical Richelieu’s influence, the brilliant William Dennis Hunt at his best, King Louis XIII (Jeff Wiesen) demands to see the diamond necklace. Then, people’s identities become revealed, the musketeers get threatened one moment and the next second are declared heroes. The one thing that remains constant is d’Artagnan’s strong desire to be apart of the clan. Thompson does a superb job as the innocent, yet full of life d’Artagnan. He’s eager to get things going but doesn’t think it through. Luckily the musketeers are right there to remedy the situation.
LeFave does a wonderful job as Athos. He plays the character with class, swagger and a lot of humor, which is a necessary requirement for being in the chosen three. His deep, almost Barry White voice permeates throughout the outside theater. Much love and props goes to Melora Marshall for playing Aramis. Her wicked humor is equal to her partners and she wears it well. One moment she’ll charm you of all your money and the next point her sword near your heart when you have shortchanged her. This Aramis will slice your throat if s/he feels wronged. Then there’s Hinton as the passionate Portos. He puts strong passion into his words. He holds on that fury as he painstakingly describes the destruction of the love he once had for a woman that went wrong.
A perfect example is when he, the other musketeers and royalty come down hard on the sensuous, but heartless Milady de Winter (Abby Craden). All the pent up frustration and anger is directed at her. It’s heart wrenching seeing him verbally abuse her. Let’s not get it twisted, she’s done a lot of evil and deserves it. The beauty of it is how Craden flawlessly drops Milady’s hard core act and becomes a vulnerable, teary-eyed human being. Craden is a marvel switching from tough chick persona when she realizes that she’s alone with no back up. Willow Geer is the opposite as Constance. She’s pure, kind, and pious filled with love and kind thoughts, and funny. Geer has perfect comedic timing. She’s a throwback to Lucille Ball complete with wit and charm.
Alexander Dumas’ classic novel has spawned countless movies and theatrical productions. It never gets tired watching swashbucklers do their thing, maids needing help and maids holding their own against others. Director Ellen Geer created a superb version of the book. There is humor, lust, love and of course all that sword fighting. She knew when to create a serious vibe and when it should be lighten up. This Three Musketeers will be a hard act to follow. This is the version high school and college students need to see so they know how the story is supposed to be. It has class, verve and most importantly, there’s not a dull moment throughout the show. A definite must see.
The Three Musketeers runs until October 3. Fridays at 8 p.m. on Aug. 20, 27, Sept. 3, 10, 19, 24, Saturdays at 4 p.m. on July 17, 24, 31, 3:30 on Sunday, June 27 7:30, July 4 at 3:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m., July 18, Saturdays at 4 p.m. on July 10, 17, 24, and 8 p.m., on July 10, July 31, and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. on June 27, 3:30 on July 4, 18, August 1, 8 and 15, September 12 and 26 at 7:30 and Oct.3 3:30 Theatricum Botanicum located at 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. For tickets call 310-455-3723 or online at www.theatricum.com