Classic Literature from Kids’ Viewpoint
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
You might think the current show on stage at the Globus Theatre near Bobcaygeon is nothing but child’s play. But it’s the kind of fun that makes you laugh out loud. In this version of The Three Musketeers, there are four children playing make-believe on a summer’s afternoon. With four comedic adults in the roles, this play pokes fun at the original old French novel, offering an educational as well as entertaining evening.
The original The Three Musketeers was written in French by Alexandre Dumas. He wrote the adventure novel in 1844, but it was set in the 1600s. The Musketeers in reality used muskets to protect their king in battle, but apparently Dumas preferred the excitement of a sword fight, and made his Musketeers swashbucklers.
Whether you have ever read or studied The Three Musketeers in English, or even more impressive, in French, it does not matter – you will still enjoy this ludicrous parody of the classic story.
This comedy version was created by a British theatre troupe, famous for re-writing the classics. It follows the story of the original novel, but pokes fun at the melodramatic plot. It also shows how « plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose » – the more things change, the more they stay the same. For example, the story centres on Cardinal Richelieu’s desire to wrest power away from the King: religion trying to tell the government how to run the country.
Le Navet Bête theatre company (The Stupid Turnip) has recreated the story of the Musketeers from a child’s point of view. Four kids, playing outdoors, decide that they are the musketeers and act out the story. Rather than a trusty steed, they ride on rusty bicycles. When a tire goes flat, the child says his horse is lame. Special kudos to the cast at Globus Theatre who maneuver those bicycles across stage, through curtains and around tight corners.
Four very funny adult actors turn themselves into four children – three of them are musketeers, loyal to the King, serving in his private army. The fourth arrives from the country, landing in Paris to become a musketeer. At first he is battling the other three, then he joins forces with them.
These same four actors also play about 30 other characters, running back stage and returning quickly as they yank on a dress or adjust a wig on their head. The costume changes alone are hilarious. Men or women, they all play the opposite sex at some point.
Power couple Sarah Quick and James Barrett are Artistic Director and Artistic Producer respectively at the Globus Theatre. In this production, Sarah plays a multitude of hilarious characters and James is the director. I believe they might also have a hand in the dinner preparation. And they are heading up the fundraising to buy the Lakeview Arts Barn – a great team, they do it all.
Joining Sarah in the mayhem on stage is Matthew Olver, Jo Haydock and Kevin Sepaul: All are equally hilarious, all with perfect comedic timing. Never did I imagine that an old piece of classic literature could be turned into such a zany farce.
Recently, I reviewed the hilarious musical & Juliet, now playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. It’s a spoof on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and I commented on how it reminded me of the great duo Wayne & Shuster, whose TV specials often featured a take-off on great literature. I see the same humour in this version of The Three Musketeers. While it’s not exactly a satire of the original novel, it’s just as much fun to look at literature through the eyes of kids and their imaginations. Having its birth in Britain, perhaps this show could be better compared to Monty Python than Wayne & Shuster. Either way, you know it’s funny.
Note: As always, the dinners are excellent at the Globus. I had the Caesar salad, followed by bangers and mash, with the sticky toffee pudding for dessert – all delicious. Victor had broccoli and cheese soup, followed by chicken breast smothered in French onion soup, and an assortment of berries in a rich cream sauce. There are three choices for each of the three courses on the menu and we haven’t been disappointed yet!
The Three Musketeers continues at the Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn near Bobcaygeon, until July 30. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 705-738-2037 or 1-800-304-7897 or visit https://www.lakeviewartsbarn.com/globus-current-season
Photo: Matthew Olver, Jo Haydock, Kevin Sepaul and Sarah Quick are the “four” musketeers.
The Three Musketeers
By John Nicholson & Le Navet Bête
Directed by James Barrett
Performed by Matthew Olver, Jo Haydock, Kevin Sepaul and Sarah Quick
Globus Theatre, Lakeview Arts Barn, Bobcaygeon
July 20 to 30, 2022
Reviewed by Mary Alderson