The Three Musketeers at St Paul’s Church,
Covent Garden, London
“A wonderful evening’s entertainment”
Ingredients: use a famous storyline, employ seven actors, put into an unusual location. Mix them together, adding a handful of joie de vivre with a splash of sword-fighting and a pinch of pantomime. Et Voilà! A wonderful evening’s entertainment.
This is the third time I have seen Iris Theatre this year. The brilliant new musical H.R.Haitch was followed by the disappointing production of The Tempest. But Daniel Winder’s company are back on form with this 17th Century romp.
The play has eight scenes and it is a promenade performance - so the audience are shuffled around the gardens and into the church, but director Paul-Ryan Carberry’s brilliant ensemble of actors keep the pace up to such a high degree that the play whizzes by, even though it is of Shakespearean length, coming in at over two and a half hours.
The story we think we know is given a contemporary twist: d’Artagnan is a woman in disguise and, along with the baddie of the piece, Milady de Winter, the two ladies present opposite sides of the same coin - both struggling as strong women in a crazy male world. Jenny Horsthuis plays d’Artagnan, Ailsa Joy plays Milady. The rest of the strong and energetic cast play a range of parts with the ebullient Stephen Boyce playing four characters.
Albert de Jongh, Elliot Liburd and Matt Stubbs play the Musketeers and also double up as Lord Buckingham, the King of France and Cardinal Richelieu respectively. This sumptuous dish was then topped off by Bethan Rose Young playing Constance and the Queen of France - as well as a joyous variety of pub landladies!
It ticks all the boxes, sadly let down by the acoustics in the final scene: the denouement slightly lost as, amidst the sword fighting, the characters’ speeches are simultaneously fighting against the church’s cavernous interior.
This is certainly a piece of theatre that the children in the audience enjoyed as much as the adults. A young boy, standing on a bench, exclaiming ‘Will someone tell me what’s going on?’ during a battle scene, did not diminish his, or our, enjoyment…
Photography: Nick Rutter
Producer: Iris Theatre
Director: Paul-Ryan Carberry
Composer: Nick Hart
Venue: St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London
Dates: Running until Sunday 2nd September 2018
Times: 2.30pm and 7.30pm - check booking website for exact
Tickets: £20 (children under 16 are £14)