David Nixon has ‘rebooted’ his 2006 adaptation of Dumas’ swash buckling tale in all it’s thigh length leather glory as we join the heroic musketeers in a tale of love and friendship against church tyranny in 17th Century France. Sacre bleu.
Blending stupendous fight scenes and sword play Errol Flynn would be proud of, NBT have paid loving homage to the classic 1948 MGM technicolour film with a blend of classical ballet and physical dance theatre.
Handsome young D’Artagnan (played by a lithe Kevin Poueng) has arrived on the mean Parisian streets seeking his fortune and a place with the fabled royal musketeers. Ironic then to have an unfortunate run in with three famous musketeers out on the lash. Challenges ensue, but in a ding dong with rival guards of Cardinal Richelieu the four join forces and a great friendship is born.
The four friends are then drawn into some regal power play between the scheming Cardinal and Queen Anne, who the Cardinal is bent on humiliating over a dalliance with the Duke of Buckingham. Can the musketeers race to retrieve a diamond necklace the Queen foolishly gifted to the English Duke? In time for a royal ball where the Cardinal has contrived to get king Louis to demand his wife wear the jewels he gave her? Will D’Artagnan be able to deliver for the Queen’s lovely lady in waiting Constance (Antoinette Brooks-Daw)? All will be revealed in a desperate race across France battling the mysterious spy Lady D’Winter and hordes of evil henchmen.
Floppy hats with feathers are duly doffed for the superb performance of love interest duet D’Artagnan and Constance, whose passionate flirtatious choreography was delivered with effortless perfection. Not to mention the joyful camaraderie of the three musketeers themselves, thigh slapping jovial drunk Porthos (Javier Torres), cool bible clutching prelate Aramis (Jonathan Hanks) and ruffled Dandy Athos (Nicola Gervasi), joyful moustache twirling and bottom slapping heroics all. Just the sort of dashing gents you’d want backing you up as you dive across a tavern table sword in hand to defend a ladies honour, to a lively classical score.
This is great fun and would make an ideal ballet for action loving young viewers, though you may have to remind them that not all ballet is this good.
Northern Ballet's The Three Musketeers plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 October 2018.