Play review by Julia Pattison: The Three Musketeers at York Theatre Royal

The Three Musketeers. Photo by Mark Dawson Photography
The Three Musketeers. Photo by Mark Dawson Photography

Comedy: The Three Musketeers

Venue: York Theatre Royal

Review by: Julia Pattison

Le Navet Bete (meaning The Daft Turnip in French!) is a physical comedy theatre company based in Exeter, Devon, who formed in 2007, and quickly gained multiple five-star reviews for shows such as Dracula; The Bloody Truth, placing physical theatre, fooling and slapstick at the heart of their performances.

All credit to writer and director John Nicholson for reducing Alexandre Dumas’s famous novel into an accessible and entertaining piece of theatre.

This was the first time the Company had visited York, and hopefully not the last, my sides ached from laughing after watching their hilarious brand new touring show, The Three Musketeers.

The four actors, Dan Bianchi, Nick Bunt, Al Dunn and Matt Freeman had all met at university, and have clearly been influenced by great British comedies such as Fawlty Towers and Monty Python; their sense of fun, enthusiasm and camaraderie was a joy to experience.

The multi-roling was impressive, with many quick changes, ably assisted by Stage manager Abi Cowan, who was kept on her toes throughout!

Ti Green’s set design of a lopsided tree house was inspired, and very much reflected the atmosphere of playfulness of the actors.

We entered into the spirit of panto at times, booing The Cardinal, who lapped it up, responding with shrieks of “I will prevail!” – all good fun. Look out for the interactive flying duck scene too – hilarious!

Bikes became trusty steeds, with music being used to great effect; the Crazy Horses scene was a particular highlight.

The best was saved for last though, with a very impressive fight scene, choreographed by Lea Anderson, and beautifully delivered by the actors.

This was an uplifting, delightful show that cleverly remained faithful to the structure of the original while pulling out all the comedy stops.

You couldn’t help but join in lustily when the charismatic cast came out with that famous phrase “One for all and all for one”, and imagine that you were a swashbuckling musketeer too!