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. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. Ticket window: Bucs, Michael Carbonaro, The Zombies

    Music & Concerts

    Tickets for the following events go on sale this week:

  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 27

    Events

    Clearwater Threshers: Kids 5 and older get their choice of red or blue fidget spinner. 7 p.m., Spectrum Field (formerly Bright House Field), 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. $6-$10. (727) 467-4457; threshersbaseball.com.

    A boy plays with a fidget spinner. (Associated Press)
  4. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 22: A rejuvenating visit to The House of the Gods (a.k.a. Pilgrim Paradise)

    Travel

    Day 22: Hospital de Orbigo to Murias de Rechivaldo: 22.3 km, 6 hours. Total for Days 1-22 = 520 km (323 miles)

  5. Art Planner: Fashion superstars are on display at Tampa Museum of Art, and Fourth Friday offers up a ton of culture

    Visual Arts

    Susanne Bartsch: Art-a-Porter at the TMA

    NYC’s “Queen of the Night,” Susanne Bartsch,