Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay


The Three Musketeers
Marin Shakespeare Company
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule


The Cast
Photo by Jay Yamada
Marin Shakespeare Company is presenting a euphoric production of Ken Ludwig's The Three Musketeers. It is fast paced and entertaining with a pinch of "Trumpism" spoken by Rod Gnapp who plays Cardinal Richelieu. I was exhilarated when I left the theatre. Playwright Ludwig has said of Alexandre Dumas's novel: "... like reading the best and longest comic book in the world." Lines are peppered with snappy anachronisms, for example: "Being a girl in the 17th century is not that much fun."

We are introduced to Sabine (Anne Norland), D'Artagnan's sister, who is supposed to be going to Paris to attend a convent school. She spends most of her time hanging with the Musketeers, posing as a man. Sabine is intertwined in the adventures of D'Artagnan (Jonah Robinson) and the oddball Musketeers—Athos (Patrick Russell), Porthos (Jackson Currier), and Aramis (Dean Linnard)—protectors of King Louis (Richard Pallaziol) and the Queen (Anna Joham).

In the opening scenes, D'Artagnan shows an impetuous bravado that constantly gets him in trouble, and he has provoked and scheduled duels an hour apart with all three Musketeers. He confides to the audience, "I'm as good as dead." Fortunately, he then joins the Musketeers in their escapades against the evil Cardinal Richelieu (Rod Gnapp) and treacherous Milady (Elena Wright).

Jonah Robinson, making an impressive debut on the Marin Shakespeare stage, plays D'Artagnan with just the right amount of boyish enthusiasm and perception beyond his years. He has a fresh-faced robustness and sparkling energy. His entrance on a rope high above the audience is awesome. Porthos is played by perfectly chill Jackson Currier with tempting levity. Dean Linnard is excellent as bible reading Aramis and he has a flaming sex appeal that has Sabine, played by Anne Norland, admirably hanging on every word. Norland is spectacular in her role. Patrick Russell as Athos gives a striking portrayal of a world-weary man who has felt the sting of unfaithfulness.

Rod Gnapp with his distinguished voice is outstanding in the role of the haughty, cruel Cardinal Richelieu; he and Elena Wright as the devious Milady are villains we love to hate. Luisa Frasconi is sweet and loyal as Constance and Nick Mandracchia is perfect as the unscrupulous Rochefort. Richard Pallaziol brilliantly plays King Louis, plus the mother superior and D'Artagnan's father and he is also an amazing fight director. He dazzlingly plays the king as a foolish fop. Anne Joham wonderfully plays the Queen and D'Artagnan's mother. Ariel Zuckerman plays many roles, including Buckingham, splendidly. The large supporting cast of Jenna Beressi, Mark Cooper, Caylyn Creager, Julia James, Nathan Kastle, Marika Kuzma, Shadi Moeini Nejad, Christian Nikolov, Molly O'Brien, and Courtney Peck give first rate performances.

Robert S. Currier brilliantly directs this fast-paced production. Richard Pallaziol's fight and sword play is the best I've seen in a long time. The remarkably detailed set design is by Jackson Currier. Ravishing costumes by Tammy Berlin, rousing music by Clint Bajakian, and a few running gags make this a satisfying festive treat. I had a ball.

The Three Musketeers runs through August 27, 2017, at Forest Meadows Amphitheatre at Dominican University of California, 890 Belle Ave, San Rafael. For tickets call 415-499-4488 or visit www.marinshakespeare.org. Their concluding summer production will be William Shakespeare's witty Love's Labour's Lost running September 1 through September 24.


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