Video Librarian
July 8, 2000
by R.Pitman.

The Three Musketeers.
(1999) 145 minutes. $27. Globalstage Productions. PPR.
Color cover. Closed captioned.
ISBN: 1-892045-06-0.

Three Stars.

It's one for all and all for one in the latest Globalstage presentation, a physically challenging adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' 17th century-set swashbuckler mounted by Portland, Oregon's Northwest Children's Theatre. The action follows the arrival of wet-behind-the-ears d'Artagnan in the big city Paris, where he promptly meets and picks fights with Porthos, Athos, and Aramis, the king's rapier-wielding musketeers. Overcoming their differences the quartet band together to stop a power-hungry plot by Cardinal Richelieu aimed at exposing the queen's dangerous and pointedly romantic liaisons with the Duke of Buckingham. Crossing countries (and of course
swords), the story moves from France to England and back again, while d'Artagnan fights for his queen's honor (and the heart of her seamstress). While the huge cast (23 thespians) and sprawling plot are likely to leave younger viewers rather confused, and the constant drop-of-a-hat fighting seems particularly ill-suited to our violence-stung times, The Three Musketeers is not without its charms. The cast is uniformly winning, the choreography very impressive
(following the play, one cast member gives hosts Elizabeth McNamer and her 13-year-old Preston Blakeley an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at creating the illusion of battle), and the writing sharp. An accompanying guide offers helpful background on the issues of 17th century church/state politics and sword play. While not among the best of recent Globalstage productions, such as Playing From the Heart, the seventh entry in this winning series is nevertheless recommended.