“The swordplay really is magnificent – kudos to fight director John Stead. And the cast is lively and amiable…But while the plot is copious, is it really compelling? How much flavor does this old chestnut still have?”
“Every second scene in the first half seems to end with the heroes touching swords and crying “One for all, and all for one!”, a predecessor of action-movie catchphrases like “May the Force be with you…Like the summer blockbusters of today, The Three Musketeers overstays its welcome by an hour or so.”
The bustling production is “told through a convoluted plot that unfolds in swift, episodic fashion”, but the production was “tedious”: “It failed to engage my imagination and I soon became weary of it all.” Reid gives kudos to Jonathan Goad who “steals the show whenever he is on stage.”
Coulbourn found Potter’s adaptation of “The Three Musketeers” began “in pretty smashing fashion…But the trip is barely underway and young D’Artagnan’s voyage begins to lose steam as Potter struggles to keep the theatrical action-adventure ball in the air and all eyes upon it.”
Ouzounian notes most of the Stratford production “is played at such a broadly sitcom level that instead of calling it The Three Musketeers it really should have been billed as Three’s Company”. He believed The Three Musketeers themselves were strong performers, with [Luke] Humphrey giving “The best solution”.
Monaghan calls the sword fighting “solidly executed, silly in the style of ‘The Princess Bride’ or ‘Pirates of the Caribbean'”. He states “the play has the power to give you the same thrill you had when getting involved in your first adventure book” at any age.
In Cushman’s review of multiple shows, Cushman called “Tommy” thrilling despite what he calls the “sickly piece of rock-hero mythology” libretto. He thought “The Three Musketeers” sacrificed humour for plot details.
Portman focuses on “Mary Stuart”, “Blithe Spirit” and “The Three Musketeers”. He praises “Cimolino’s gripping vision and Peter Oswald’s sizzling new translation.” He found very little” enjoyment in The Three Musketeers and “some surprising moments of unnecessary brutality.” Portman gives kudos to McKenna’s roles such as “a performance of dotty perfection as Madame Arcati”.
“You can either approach this swashbuckling story as a high-flown romance, or you can tramp it into the dust as a foolish little farce. What you can’t do, however, is try to do a bit of both.” Smith praises the score, set design, lighting, costumes and male leads.
Greason states director Raby’s “notes in the program even mention the likes of Batman and the villainous Voldemort, drawing parallels between the swashbuckling heroes of yesterday and today.” He praises the quick scene changes, but notes “audience members with contemporary views of sexual equality may find [Milady] problematic.”
“The opening sequence featuring some wonderful no-holds-barred swordplay between a boisterous young D’Artagnan (Luke Humphrey) and his well-skilled father (played by Wayne Best) gives one the impression this could be a swashbuckler for the ages. Sadly, such is not the case. The story proceeds at an often tedious pace.”
Godfrey reviews both “The Three Musketeers” and “Blithe Spirit”. She found Abbey’s performance lacked depth and Shara’s portrayal “nearly foppy”.However,she liked seeing Goad “have such fun” with his character in “The Three Musketeers”. She felt Topham “has never been better” than her role as Ruth in “The Blithe Spirit”.
Hoile understood children would like “The Three Musketeers” because of D’Artagan’s triumph and “the good-versus-evil plot”. However, he notes the narrative’s details “reveal complexities in morality and narrative that would respectively puzzle and bore most children, and indeed most adults.
Munro states the chemistry between Humphrey and “the other musketeers is undeniable, and goes a long way to making this production the successful romp that it is”. He found Goad’s entrance “hilarious”, Shara “successfully treads the fine line between swordsman and man of God”, and Abbey ” provides the necessary depth”.
Fischer finds common themes in the various productions he saw, including “Tommy”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Waiting For Godot” and a preview of “Taking Shakespeare”. He notes “Cimolino has succeeded, spectacularly — allowing plays written and set centuries apart to speak to each other and to us in new ways.”