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Watermill Senior Youth Theatre - The Three Musketeers

7th to 10th April 2010.

This review is from the Newbury Weekly News.

Youth theatre brings modern spirit to musketeers

Watermill Senior Youth Theatre: The Three Musketeers, at The watermill, Bagnor, from to Wednesday, April 7 to Saturday, April 10

Alexandre Dumas' classic tale of The Three Musketeers has been given a fresh, innovative interpretation in Beth Flintoff's adaption for the Watermill's senior youth theatre.

The 30-strong talented company worked well together as an ensemble. It was indeed, "all for one and one for all". This was a fast-paced, witty production, filled with modern humorous touches that the young actors embraced with relish.

Chris Evans as the Old d'Artagnan kept his hand firmly on the helm as he narrated his story and Rob Conway was totally convincing as the swashbuckling young d'Artagnan, who was determined to become a musketeer. He picks a fight with the three king's men, Porthos (Samantha Grice), Aramis (Harriet Carter) and Athos - strongly played by Ed Richardson: "If I am to be killed at least it will be by a musketeer". They become his mentors as he is introduced to the Royal Court.

Louis Spencer was delightful as the petulant, hysterical and effeminate king, dressed in gold and yellow, together with his queen, the charming Isabelle Rudgley. The costumes by Debbie Macgregor and Amanda Dooley captured the flavour of the period.

All is not well at the court, which is filled with intrigue, romance and treason, with enemy spies all around. Josh Rawlings was the smouldering dark and evil Rochefort who, together with the fiendish Cardinal (Ben Tarquini) and Sophie Trip's Milady, provide the villainy in the play.

D'Artagnan falls in love with Constance (Evie Harbury), whose husband (Samuel Steele-Childe) is accused of high treason, and they run away.

The queen has asked d'Artagnan to go to England for her and has given him a diamond as a present. However, he has no papers and is stopped by the guards - cue the song Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants; all wonderful, irreverent tongue-in-cheek fun that peppered this production.

The Cardinal has agents in England and the whole plot becomes much darker, as d'Artagnan returns to France to meet his fate.

The fight scenes were carefully choreographed by Jeremy Barlow, with one taking place using only the handles of the swords and the sound coming from off stage - hilarious.

William Fricker's multi-level set, with gauze panels and huge doors, was beautifully lit by Nick Flintoff, and Heather Snaith's choreography was effective. Director Beth Flintoff created a confident, spirited production that was thoroughly enjoyed by an appreciative audience.