Sunday, October 01, 2017

Theater Review: The Three Musketeers

I have yet to be disappointed by Syracuse Stage's performances. Of the several I have seen, I have always found something to like, and even love, about them. Theater is an ephemeral and intimate art, more so than film or books. Each performance will be slightly different, building on and reacting to the mood and response of its audience. It's a symbiotic magic where the viewer gets to help shape the play as it is being acted out.

Set Magic

No less wonderful are the set designs. As theaters go, Syracuse Stage is a smallish venue, with its largest stage, Archbold Theater, comprising some 499 seatsbut the scale of their plays is impressive. So it was with The Three Musketeers, adapted by Catherine Bush from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, and directed by Robert Hupp. The set is so intricate and beautiful that it is, itself, a character in the play. It features a gorgeous pair of staircases with a pavilion on top and two doors at the bottom. Rather than intensive set changes between scenes, the play relies on prop changes against this backdrop to instill a new sense of atmosphere for each scene. The beauty of a well-done set is its ability to help tell the story without anyone saying a word, and it's my favorite thing about theater. You have to see this set to believe it.

The Talent

I was pleased to see Matthew Greer (Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery) as Athos, and he is as excellent in his role and onstage presence in "Musketeers" as he was in playing Holmes. Travis Staton-Marrero debuts at Syracuse Stage in his performance as D'Artagnan, a young Frenchman longing to join the famed Musketeers. He does a terrific job, and he bounds around the set with such gusto that my knees hurt just watching him. Don't forget to keep an eye on Claro Austria (Planchet), who very nearly stole everyone else's thunder.

A Sneak Peek

Before the play, I was privileged to hear director Robert Hupp speak about the moving parts that go into such a big production. Each actor has to be licensed in stage combat, an important consideration when one is lunging around at another person with a sharp, pointy object. The result of such training is a fight scene in which several pairs of actors whirl around the stage, battling madly, without unintentionally hurting one another. It makes for exciting action, and the only wounds are those incurred in the fictional storyline. Take a look!

The Three Musketeers runs September 20th-October 8th.Tickets are a reasonable $20.00-$53.00, depending on show features, time, and day of performance.

REVIEW: 4 of 5 stars

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