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Thursday, September 20, 2001

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En garde! Dumas draws his pen again

'Musketeers' at PTC is a lively swashbuckler

By Ivan M. Lincoln
Deseret News theater editor

THE THREE MUSKETEERS, a Pioneer Theatre Company production, adapted and directed by Charles Morey. Continues through Oct. 6, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. on Fridays and 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. All seats reserved. Tickets range from $18 to $37 (group and student discounts available). Box office: 581-6961. Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (one intermission).

High adventure on a grand, spectacular scale.
That's what Pioneer Theatre Company delivers in this energetic, never-a-dull-moment swashbuckler.
Robert Devaney and Christa Scott Reed in "The Three Musketeers."

Jason Olson, Deseret News
Director/playwright Charles Morey infuses the action with innovative theatrical devices - a fluid, revolving set that keeps the plot moving with smooth efficiency and having Alexandre Dumas himself (well, OK, he's played by Anderson Matthews) attempting to write his serial for the Parisian newspaper, Le Siecle, under intense deadline pressure in 1844. Dumas even interacts with the story's characters in his imagination when he paints himself into a corner now and then.
And there are supertitles projected over the proscenium, helping you keep track of the constantly shifting locales.
Like the model carousel on his writing desk - the action-filled plot and the Musketeers' adventures constantly spin and swirl on PTC's stage.
The daring, heroic Musketeers - Porthos, Aramis, Athos and exuberant newcomer D'Artagnan - may be serious about their mission to protect King Louis XIII, but they (and the audience) have plenty of fun in the process.
Morey has a finely honed cast of consummate professionals. There's not a weak link in the bunch.
Robert L. Devaney displays tireless energy as D'Artagnan, determined to prove himself so he can join the elite band of Musketeers. He's joined by Mark Silence as the cocky Aramis, R. Ward Duffy as Athos and Mark Mineart as Porthos, their husky, take-charge leader.
There's never any doubt that the clever, sinister plots hatched by Comte de Rochefort (Hayden Adams), Cardinal Richelieu (Max Robinson) and Milady de Winter (Christa Scott-Reed) will ultimately be thwarted.
De Winter is rightfully described by Aramis as the devil incarnate. She is beautiful, dangerous - and deadly. Very deadly.
Other key players in a story that has more twists and turns than a Parisian backstreet include Anne Stewart Mark as the regal queen of France, Margot White as the naive Constance Bonacieux, Noble Shropshire as the foppish King Louis XIII and Richard Mathews in several roles, including Constance's husband.
Resident scenery designer George Maxwell's mammoth set is both spectacular and functional, and Carol Wells-Day's costumes are sumptuous, augmented with Dale Anthony Girard and David L. Boushey's intricate fight choreography, Robert Jared's lighting, Joe Payne's sound and James Prigmore's musical underscoring.
Sensitivity rating: May be too intense for younger children, but overall, this is suitable for families.


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