York Theatre Royal – Friday 9 February 2020
Reviewed by Michelle and Marcus Richardson
The Three Musketeers, an old time favourite novel, written by Alexandre Dumas. It is a tale of brotherhood, heroism and love. Le Navet Bete Theatre Company, based in Exeter, have won numerous awards for their various comedy shows. As part of their UK they are playing a few shows at the York Theatre Royal.
A total of four actors play over 30 characters ranging from royalty to barmen and of course the musketeers themselves. This band of merry men are made up of Dan Bianchi, Nick Blunt, Al Dunn and Matt Freeman. Each coming on the stage as themselves and introducing the crazy creation that they are about to perform to the audience. The whole play is set as if it was a group of kids playing make believe as summer starts. We are frequently reminded and encouraged to use our imagination as bikes depict horses, West Country accents instead of French ones and jokes about fruit juices being spiked with coke (cola).
There are some seriously funny characters, but one of the characters that stood out the most was Milady DeWinter played by Freeman, a sexy femme fatal with blue eyes like alpine lakeside. There was a bit of audience participation when several members were required to throw stuffed ducks onto the stage for Milady DeWinter, in order to show off her impressive shooting skills. It was entertaining to see about 20 soft toys flying through the air onto the stage, only to be shot down, courtesy of a little bit of work from the sound technician. It worked wonderfully well and had all of us chuckling away.
There were numerous costume changes, so many it was hard to keep up, all with the help of Abi Cowan, the stage manager. These super quick changes didn’t always go to plan, but this only added to the fun.
The play is full of slapstick, cheesy jokes and moments where the plot is completely lost and yet somehow we get through the story. There appear to be mishaps and mistakes aplenty, but are they really mistakes or part of the show? That is for the cast to know and the audience to wonder. These so called unscripted parts were very funny and added that extra dimension to an already funny show.
This show has a somewhat pantomime feel to it, full of energy and is great for all, we really enjoyed hearing the children in the audience laughing along. The actors are clearly having a blast, and so did we. A wonderful whirlwind of a show.