A whimsical take on the novel “The Three Musketeers,” written by Alexandre Dumas and adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig, will be performed at the Mesa Arts Center through Oct. 28.
Bouncing back from a real-life tragedy in the form of a warehouse fire that destroyed much of their collected creations, the quality of this latest production by the Southwest Shakespeare Company is as solid as any I have seen previously.
The set was elaborate and intricately designed, stone walls traced with vines with blooming flowers, with shields and swords mounted on either side.
This served as both backdrop and a method for allowing movement both offstage and vertically, something used to great effect at certain points of the story.
There was a large-scale fight scene with many actors moving about, where at times actors would step forward towards the crowd so that the focus of the audience was drawn to them.
I thought that this was a highlight of what was exceptional choreography, that was present in much of the play.
The lighting also accentuated certain portions of the stage to further draw the eye to things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, and was at times evocative.
Original music composed by Thomas Hartwell suited the period of the play, and the timing of both songs and sound effects with what was happening onstage heightened the experience.
The actors vocalized well within the space, and I never struggled to hear what any of them said.
Being a fan of the works of Dumas, the changes made to the story were refreshing and the addition of D’Artagnan’s sister Sabine.
Shelby Daeffler as Sabine poking fun at the naive D’Artagnan played by Andy Cahoon was good-natured, and did not feel forced.
His notions of being a hero might come across as overly idealistic, but her presence often grounded him at just the right moment.
The humor of the writing throughout the production was skillfully delivered, by performers that were comfortable in their roles.
There was one modern reference that stuck with me, which made sense in the context of the political maneuvering between the cardinal and the king, and provoked laughter throughout the crowd.
Joseph Cullen was particularly entertaining in multiple roles, and I found myself laughing at the antics his King Louis XIII several times.
The musketeers themselves each conveyed unique personalities of seasoned veterans who did as they pleased, though their loyalty to their friends was paramount.
Cardinal Richelieu’s deceit and scheming drove the plot, and his exasperation when thwarted was palpable due to the acting of Alexis Baigue.
Loyalty is an important aspect of the story of “The Three Musketeers,” which is exemplified by their saying “all for one, and one for all” which was used in the play at transitional moments, perhaps to drive home its significance.
Though there are several changes to the plot when comparing the novel to this adaptation, the themes and spirit of the story remain intact.
Those looking for a bit of fun and adventure should not miss the opportunity to see “The Three Musketeers” on stage while they have the chance.
For information on showtimes or to buy tickets, visit mesaartscenter.com or call the Mesa Arts Center box office at 480-644-6500.
– Mesa resident Kian Hagerman is a Mesa Community College journalism intern for MyNewsMesa.com.