Reviewed by Lucy Gwilliam
Award winning theatre company, La Navet Bete, who previously brought Dracula: The Bloody Truth to the stage to great critical acclaim, have brought their comical version of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Three Musketeers to The Lowry Theatre, Salford Quays, Manchester.
The famous novel on which this play is very loosely based recounts the tale of D’Artagnan and his adventures as he travels to Paris to join the Musketeers. However, this new version is a completely different affair with riotous fun and laughter throughout.
The cast consists of just four performers, Dan Bianchi, Nick Blunt, Al Dunn and Matt Freeman, who take on multiple character roles and change costume over and over again. Not only do the performers play Musketeers D’Artagnan, Aramis, Porthos and Aramis, but also many of the lesser known characters including Cardinal Richaelieu and Milady de Winter, which just proves how versatile the actors are.
The cast came onto the stage at the start of the performance and introduced themselves to the audience, explaining their relationship and that they had bonded at a very young age over their love of the theatre and performing, before growing up and setting up their own performing arts company. They were supported on stage by their production manager, who facilitated their many costume changes and set adaptations.
The story begins with D’Artagnan and his quest to join the Musketeers. However, things don’t go according to plan as he is unable to join them immediately although he befriends the most formidable Musketeers, getting involved in political affairs, fighting with many adversaries along the way. This is where the performance differs from the original tale as the set is based around the treehouse where the cast of actors spent their childhood, instead of the streets of Paris. The treehouse is cleverly adapted for each scene, with the pull of a lever or the shove of a table, to create a whole new space.
There was laughter from the audience throughout and the show became much funnier as the talented cast of actors warmed up and the show progressed. The show was intentionally very silly and slapstick which only added to the fun.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable Friday evening out and would recommend this performance to a variety of age groups.
La Navet Bete are currently on tour with The Three Musketeers: A Comedy Adventure, for more information and tour dates visit lenavetbete.com.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000