Review of The Three Musketeers
By Ken Ludwig
Directed by Beulah Vega
Adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas

For tickets / schedule :
Pegasus Theater Company
Riverkeeper Stewardship Park, Guerneville

RUN: June 17-26 (Excluding 23), 2016
RATING: 3 of 5 stars

(June 17, 2016)

Photograph by Al Christenson

Photograph by Al Christenson

The Three Musketeers has engaged audiences in swashbuckling escapades since 1844, leading to a series of thrilling stories featuring d’Artagnan, who lives by his high-principled notions of honor in a mercenary world. Volunteer staffed Pegasus Theater Company has chosen to present an adaptation in Guerneville’s Riverkeeper Stewardship Park, nestled under a bridge overlooking the lush Russian River flowing by in gentle ripples during the action of the play. The intimate wooded setting is perfect for Alexandre Dumas’ idealized France. A simple set design highlights the natural beauty of the environment.

A youthful romp filled with enthusiastic dueling choreographed by Nadja Masura and Peter Rogers, the musketeers and their opponents range up and down the hillside, into the trees, and across the stage with gleeful skill. Rather than presenting a serious retelling, Ken Ludwig’s Sabine (Olivia Rooney), d’Artagnan’s younger sister, creates a surreal world where Tumblr fangirls are personified alongside the traditional story. Oliva Rooney brings a fresh infusion of comedy to her portrayal of a jarring Mary Sue character with such delight in her role, that Sabine becomes a forgivable addition. In contrast, the sultry Milady (Yelena Segal) and innocent Constance (Rosie Frater) are the essence of their original characters. Yelena Segal was magnificent as the cold-hearted temptress, beguiling and terrifying.

David O’Connell’s d’Artagnan is a young man caught up in a flood he cannot control, accidentally becoming the most important man in France. Rather than the angry youngster with a chip on his shoulder from the novel, this d’Artagnan is kind and a bit hapless, eager to prove himself. The three musketeers are portrayed with gusto and well-earned pride, racing back and forth in a flurry of chase sequences worthy of a classic Western. Nicolas Christenson as Porthos is a future Falstaff in the making; his jovial antics are captivating. Athos (Rusty Thompson) manages to bring a disturbing edge to his character despite being surrounded by drunken revelry when he describes his background with Milady. Athena Gundlach’s Cardinal Richelieu preens and schemes, balancing between melodrama and slapstick comedy. The supporting cast is well intentioned, but still honing their craft. Their scenes slowed the pace, and occasionally distracted, but overall the impression of this production is fast-paced.

The Three Musketeers is an adventure for the whole family, and a fun introduction to live theatre for a younger audience. Its unique natural setting by the river is a treat to experience. When arriving, do not cross, but go down and left when you reach the foot bridge. The theatre trail will be marked with large red banners.