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PTC's 'Three Musketeers' Is a Fun Carousel Ride
Sunday, September 23, 2001
Krista Scott-Read and Anderson Mathews in "The Three Musketeers." (Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Pioneer Theatre Company's "The Three Musketeers" is enormously clever theater. Lovers of spectacle will revel in the elegant costumes, lavish revolving set and swashbuckling swordfights in this melodramatic potboiler. The show is a little strong and a little long for families, but those who crave intrigue and romance can get their fill of both.
In adapting Alexandre Dumas' 19th-century novel, Charles Morey (who also directed) holds true to its spirit. It is frankly campy and ingeniously humorous. The plot thickens, but never deepens. Morey's inclusion of Dumas as an interloper in his own story is a bright comic touch.
Anderson Mathews plays the author battling to keep control of his characters. Some of the play's best entertainment is in watching Dumas write himself into corners, then devise improbable escapes.
The far-flung locations and intricate plot sequences of the sprawling novel are telescoped by another of Morey's artistic inventions. Inspired by the miniature carousel on his writing table, Dumas imagines the story on a grand carousel; his musketeers ride to adventure on wooden carousel horses. Their adventure-packed journey to Calais is spun out on revolving platforms, keeping the story compact and visually interesting.
Porthos, Aramis and Athos (Mark Mineart, Mark Silence and R. Ward Duffy) make dashing men-of-arms; Robert L. Devaney is engaging as their young co-hort, D'Artagnan. Fine support comes from Noble Shropshire as a foppish King Louis XIII of France and Max Robinson as the devious Cardinal Richelieu.
For pure malevolence, Dumas' femme fatale Milady DeWinter is unexcelled. Krista Scott-Read plays her with steamy menace. Constance Bonacieux, as played by Margot White, is a winsome soubrette; Anne Stewart Mark plays a poised Queen of France.
Nineteenth-century attitudes toward women are unavoidable in this play; the females here are seen as playthings, schemers or seducers, and several meet with violent ends onstage. Although presented with a light touch, the show's battle scenes, seductions and deaths suggest that younger kids should be left at home.

Buckle That Swash

Pioneer Theatre Company's production of "The Three Musketeers" continues at Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre. Curtain times are Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and 2 p.m. for Saturday matinees.
Tickets are $18 to $37; call the PTC box office at (801) 581-6961 or go online, "The Three Musketeers" is 2 hours and 40 minutes long with a 20-minute intermission.

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