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Theatre Review: DCTC Offers Classic Adventure in ‘Musketeers’

The Three Musketeers is best known in its original form, a novel by Alexandre Dumas set in the 17th century. The story of d’Artagnan as he journeys to Paris in hope of becoming a Musketeer Guard has proved so compelling that it has become worthy of several movie, musical, television, and comic adaptations. Elements of the story are timeless – d’Artagnan’s drive to fulfill his purpose in life and fit in with a group, the pursuit of love (well, if you forgive the fact that all but one of the women each Musketeer pursues is married to someone else), and the noble job of defending one’s country.

Musketeers Was a Buddy Comedy Before They Were Cool

HE SAID: One common theatrical device that is used when adapting a book for the stage is the use of a narrator. The best decision made for this adaptation and production was to NOT use a narrator of any kind. This forces the focus on to the action of the story and requires the production to keep moving. With the brisk pace, the story feels somewhat cinematic as it fades from one scene/setting to another fluidly while revealing the cleverly twisting plot.

SHE SAID: This is such a frequently-told story, but each adaptation of it faces different challenges. In a live theater setting, the biggest challenges are to keep the story moving forward while portraying the large number of characters in a large number of locations. This adaptation by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy and Penny Petropulos does an excellent job of all three. At intermission, we both commented that it seemed like the first act had lasted long than an hour — not because the material dragged, quite the contrary — because it seemed impossible that so much story had been told in so little time. The dialogue has a classic tone but is instantly accessible — it doesn’t require the usual scene-and-a-half adjustment period that I usually notice when seeing Shakespeare or other classically written plays.

DCTC Shows Depth With Large, Talented Company

HE SAID: The language isn’t tricky to understand at all, other than the occasional lost word due to a lack of projection. The cast is rather impressive, especially given the numerous large fight scenes. Most of the time it was a group of men fighting it out, choreographed by Gregory Hoffman – a real treat. This is an ensemble performance – One for All if you will – but most of it lies on the shoulders of Ben Rosenbaum as D’Artagnan. Rosenbaum is charming and convincing as the brash young Musketeer.

SHE SAID: The individual performances are world-class. Rosenbaum as well as his three fellow Musketeers (Jamison Jones, Mike Ryan and Martin Yurek) make compelling work out of telling their stories. The plot includes generous handfuls of strong supporting characters, and each one is as thoughtfully and clearly portrayed as one could hope. Most of the actors should be praised for their dexterity, with both mouth and sword, as the language in this show flows quickly but is handled expertly. While this show is primarily driven by men (OMG there were so many men. It makes me wonder how often this show can be done without the company offering them roles in Shakespeare plays in rep.), the leading women were also phenomenal, hitting their emotional marks with as much precision as the men handling their swords.

Designers Capture Luxury of Royalty

HE SAID: This is probably the first time I have ever felt the Stage Theater  at the Denver Center feel small. With the show requiring so many locales, the set design is almost overwhelmed by the various requirements. While it was expertly designed and constructed, to me, the set suffers by giving us slivers of each necessary building. It felt cramped and never gave any scene the full sense of its own environment. The costumes by B. Modern were lovely – not surprising given the Denver Center always excels in this genre (Lest, we forget last year’s production of The Liar). Lights and Sound also were, of course, top notch.

SHE SAID: I actually disagree – I thought that the design elements in this show were all breathtaking. I thought the scenic design was fantastic. Using a multi-level set with more than half a dozen entrances and exits (not counting multiple trap doors that are used well throughout), the set is versatile and allows for so many different playing areas that the transitions between scenes are seamless. I do see what you mean though, that with SO many playing areas, a few of them seem rather small at times. I agree that the costumes really take the cake — I was delighted by many of the rich, luxurious, and sometimes appropriately flamboyant individual pieces, as well as set aback by the sheer number of costumes needed throughout the evening.

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DCTC’s Musketeers is a Great Story Told Well

THEY SAID: The Three Musketeers has all of the benefits of a well-known tale. As an audience member, you can comfortably settle in for the ride to a time that satisfies your craving for the historical, but has enough movement, humor and adventure to keep you engaged for the entire evening. The entire DCTC Company – actors, fight choreographers, and designers — really show off their technical skills with this demanding piece. What is even more remarkable, all of that expertise is well-integrated and coalesces to do what good theater is meant to do — tell a darn good story.

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