"THE THREE MUSKETEERS" IS ONE THRILLING ADVENTURE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Alexandre Dumas’ swashbuckling novel "The Three Musketeers" could be a comedy if it weren't for so much tragedy. It has been adapted for the stage by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy and Penny Metropulos in all its majesty and mayhem. Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut will be performing these feats of daring drama until Sunday, December 8 at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre and it is well worth the trip for the excitement alone.

When an eager and brave young man named D’Artagnan travels to Paris in 1625, he is seeking adventure with a capital A. His only possession of value is his father’s sword and he yearns to use it for courageous deeds in defense of the Queen.

Within minutes of reaching his destination, however, D’Artagnan (Will Haden) accidentally finds himself challenged to a trio of duels, duels that are not only extremely dangerous but also outlawed. And the men who challenge him in combat are, ironically, the same men he seeks to meet and join: “The Three Musketeers.”

Needing to prove himself worthy, D’Artagnan implores Porthos (Anthony J. Goes), Aramis (James Jelkin) and Athos (Thomas Brazzle) and the Musketeers’ Captain (Alexander Sovronsky) to let him join their elite ranks. They soon find themselves fighting the Cardinal (Rocco Sisto) and his guards, led by the conniving Rochefort (Darek Burkowski).

The intrigue continues as it swirls around the fate of noble ladies, Queen Anne (Khetanya Henderson) and her seamstress Constance (Sarah Wintermeyer) and D’Artagnan’s loyal servant Planchet (Harry Elfenbaum as well as the infamous femme fatale Milady, the Countess de Winter (Olivia Saccomanno) who can not be trusted as far as a dropped handkerchief takes to reach the earth. Into the fray are the two men of the hour, a flamboyant King Louis (Coles Prince) and the admirable Duke of Buckingham (Alexander Sovronsky) who both seek to win Queen Anne’s favor and are willing to fight a war to prove themselves worthy.

Tony Simotes directs the non-stop action with style and verve. As the Artistic Director of Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires, this is his first experience at UCONN and he loves the play's "heightened language, cinemetic elements and wonderful swordplay." Explaining that he's had "the best time with the students and the show," he is clearly looking for another invitation to direct here. Impressed by the staff and faculty, he acknowledges "they have made me feel very much at home." As for the show, "it is wonderfully romantic, with history and politics, religious wars and the intrigue between England and France. I have had a great time looking at the story in a deeper sense, examining the consequences of the struggles between religion and government. It is more than just the physicality. It is so timely that we are performing it as we relive the assassination of President Kennedy fifty years ago and the great repercussions that echo today."

Traveling to UCONN just to see the parade of fashions created and assembled from far and wide by Fan Zhang is an added bonus. The talent of this large cast of Equity actors and drama students is across the board excellent.

For tickets ($7-37), call the CT Rep at 860-486-2113 or online at www.ct.uconn.edu. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday, December 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, December 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 8 at 2 p.m. There are no performances Thanksgiving week.

It’s “all for one, one for all” in this action-packed tale of friendship, romance and adventure that glimmers like a necklace of diamonds displayed on a sword of steel.

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