I ALWAYS say it every time I go there, that “…I don’t review Tread the Boards Theatre Company nearly enough”.
A visit is always worthwhile and a mostly joyous outing to Stratford upon Avon – this time was no exception. Their madcap version of Alexandre Dumas’ classic romp is pure theatrical magic.
Olivia Homes script is pacey, intelligent and jaw achingly funny. All the original characters are included and the story is intact – same tale, different outing.
This is not a pantomime where you get three minutes of original fable and two hours of variety performed by soap stars.
The genius that is John Robert Partridge has assembled an absolutely wonderful company – who all look like they’ve stepped straight off the pages of the novel – and directed them to give us three dimensional performances. Actually, make that four, as many times the fourth wall twixt audience and cast is shattered.
The action is frenetic and although the sword fighting is tongue-in-cheek, it is executed with great skill and aplomb. Adam Clarke and Sue Kent have created a set which takes us from
Paris to London and back.
Elliot Wallis gives us a soundtrack filled with smiles and Kat Murray has designed moody lighting with perfectly timed blackouts (not an easy feat).
Lucas Albion with his flowing curly hair, wild eyes and cheeky grin is the perfect D’Artagnan; James Wilson brings mirth and imagination to the dastardly Rochefort and Andrew Woolley’s Cardinal plays homage to Donald Pleasances Bond Villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in his commandingly comedic portrayal.
Sarah Feltham as Milady makes a menacingly beautiful femme fatale and Lilly Bennet multi-tasks beautifully between Constance, the Queen and Treville.
So to the three musketeers; Joshua Chandos as the romantic would-be poet Aramis (doubles as Buckingham); The laughing Portas (and ‘bunch of frogs mad king’) by an exuberant Alastair Oakley and prim and proper Athos (and panto dame Mother) John-Robert Partridge.
Individually they are great – together they are magnificent. ‘One for all and all for one’ I’d say – Now where have I heard that before?
My special shout out goes to Luke Dyer who rivals the late great Roy Kinear as D;Artagnan’s aide, Planchet.
Not long to go till the end of the run and I urge you to book and grab one of the last seats. This is family theatre at its very finest and gets a rare but unreserved 5 stars from me.
The Three Musketeers runs at The Attic Theatre in Stratford until Monday, August 28. Click here for times, tickets and more information.
Review by Euan Rose
Euan Rose Reviews