Make us your home page
Instagram

Hat Trick Theatre's farcical 'The Three Musketeers' is about as much fun as losing a sword fight

Hat Trick Theatre's The Three Musketeers is a farcical interpretation, which mashes the accelerator to the floor. Courtesy of Hat Trick Theatre.

Hat Trick Theatre's The Three Musketeers is a farcical interpretation, which mashes the accelerator to the floor. Courtesy of Hat Trick Theatre.

CLEARWATER — For its last production of the season, Hat Trick Theatre has chosen an adaptation of The Three Musketeers. Two of its own, original director Joe Winskye and photographer Bianca Badia, wrote this farcical interpretation, which takes this baroque adventure by Alexandre Dumas and mashes the accelerator to the floor.

The comical story has survived several retellings, including a Broadway musical and multiple movies. This one, directed by Winskye, might be the first that focuses primarily on the sword fights and other slapstick, or attempts such a dizzying pace.

Stephen Fisher, Jack Holloway and Paul McColgan play musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis, plus another role each. Ryan Bernier, the show's brightest element, stars as D'artagnan, a naive dispossessed nobleman in 17th-century France who dreams of joining the elite Musketeers of the Guard but gets mugged before he reaches Paris. There follows an interlocking string of betrayals and ludicrous dangers.

Say this for Winskye, Badia and Hat Trick — putting this on must be an exhausting task. It certainly was a trial to watch.

The set consists mostly of a tall fortress of angled stairs running the length of the stage, which facilitate dozens of scene changes every few minutes. The numerous levels also give characters platforms to leap off of, sword in hand.

This play is very egalitarian about who does what.

Women get to duel.

Men get to be women, including men disguised as nuns. David Barrow wears an overstuffed bodice as the innkeeper's daughter. (The character elicited hearty guffaws from the audience with each appearance, so by that measure the outfit apparently worked.)

And actors get to play for two and a half hours like kids running around a tree fort. (Even that wasn't enough for Bernier, who jogs "to London" by running in place, stage left, the entire intermission.)

There's some mildly amusing dialogue. A voyeuristic Aramis can't put down the spyglass to scope out nuns, changing clothes in a neighboring convent. "I just call it nun-derware," he says.

D'artagnan and his lover, played by Molly Schoolmeester, bicker over who gets to address the audience. The best line of the night was an ad-lib by Holloway, who slipped while sprinting up the stairs and landed on his face.

"I'm all right," he solemnly intoned.

Barrow doubles as a soap opera villain of a Cardinal Richelieu, and McColgan carries Aramis with a certain swagger. Other performers, including Matthew Frankel shouting through a portrayal of the cardinal's henchman and Schoolmeester meandering between four roles like a dealer shuffling a deck of cards, are harder to take.

So too are the set changes every few minutes, accomplished by moving boxes around, and a structure that leans heavily on narration by D'artagnan tantamount to a running voiceover.

If you like the synchronized slamming doors of a bedroom farce, you might like this. If you remembered the plot twists in The Three Musketeers, this show will help you forget them again. It feels like a satire of a satire, with the built-in safeguard that anyone who doesn't love it just doesn't get the artistry of it all.

I'd be one of those. But I'm glad it was fun for them.

Contact Andrew Meacham at ameacham@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.

. If you go

The Three Musketeers

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through May 28 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Murray Theatre, 1111 N McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. $24. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.

Hat Trick Theatre's farcical 'The Three Musketeers' is about as much fun as losing a sword fight 05/19/17 [Last modified: Saturday, May 20, 2017 9:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 17

    Events

    Insane Clown Posse: The hip-hop duo is known for their supernatural and horror themed lyrics. 6 p.m., State Theatre, 687 Central Avenue North, St. Petersburg. $25. (727) 895-3045.

    The Insane Clown Posse attends the 2003 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena December 10, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 14th annual ceremony airs live tonight on FOX 8:00-10:00 PM ET Live/PT. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
  2. Restaurant review: Noble Crust's second location is a boon to booming Wesley Chapel

    Food & Dining

    WESLEY CHAPEL

    Wesley Chapel is said to be one of the fastest growing areas in the country, due to the perfect cocktail of available and affordable land, broad but upwardly mobile demographics and easy access to other parts of Tampa Bay. And while malls and brick-and-mortar retail centers have taken a big hit in …

    The pizzas could use some refining at this location. Crusts struggled to stay crisp under toppings that were too heavy.
  3. This recipe for Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash is perfect for Meatless Monday

    Cooking

    This meal is so healthy, I am not even sure how it's so delicious. It's a perfect plate for Meatless Monday: filling yet fun, with "meatballs" made out of crushed nuts and strands of spaghetti squash. The whole thing freezes surprisingly well, too, just note that the squash will be a little watery upon defrost.

    Meatless Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash. Photos by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor.
  4. Reviews: Beck's 'Colors,' St. Vincent's 'Masseduction' thrive in vibrant, alternative pop worlds

    Music & Concerts

    Flash back, if you will, to Aug. 25, 2015, and one of the more unusual stops on Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour. That night in Los Angeles, Swift brought out guests St. Vincent and Beck to perform the latter's single Dreams.

    St. Vincent attends the Special Escape Room Experience created by Spotify for St Vincent and their biggest fans to celebrate forthcoming album "Masseduction" on Oct. 4 in New York City.  (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Spotify)
  5. Plenty of food and a lot more at St. Joan of Arc's annual Ethnic Festival

    Events

    SPRING HILL — It's all about the food — an ethnic smorgasbord of culinary favorites from countries around the world.

    WILL VRAGOVIC   |   TimesSt. Joan of Arc Catholic Church's 26th annual Ethnic Festival opens Oct. 19 and runs through Oct. 22.