By Meg Sutton. Photo is provided.
Combat, comedy, and camaraderie bring in an audience at the Ottawa Little Theatre (OLT) for the production of Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers, based off of the classic by Alexandre Dumas.
It is certainly a crowd pleaser, as it encompasses the youthful energy of a young D’Artagnan (Robbie Clement) and the timeless heroism of the king’s guards, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis (Ian Gillies, Job Dickey, and Eze Leno).
The show starts and ends similarly. Initially, Clement runs through the aisles training with his father to the stage. At the end, he and the legendary three run back exiting into the lobby, serving as a great method of extending the stage beyond its borders, and bringing the audience into the action.
D’Artagnan’s sister, Sabine (Emily Walsh), is never far behind. Trailing behind her brother in the beginning, but head over heels for the charming Aramis. To the same extent of Clement, Walsh has so much energy that there must be Redbull hidden backstage. Their sibling scenes give laughing relief to the treachery and treason of the plot.
As far as treason goes, the only word to describe Rebecca Laviolette’s portrayal of Milady is deadly. Laviolette has that badass girl-power quality needed in modern day. On the side of the Cardinal against the King, she is viciously quick but still manages to pull sympathy in her last scenes.
Also quite admirable in the show was Laviolette’s costume in the ball scene. Overall the costumes were timely, glittering, and gorgeous. In fact, The Three Musketeers has 74 costumes for its 21 actors. Yet Milady, who cannot be limited in movement, wears a rose-gold crop top and genie pants. This was a refreshing variation of French court attire. She looked stunning and in no way hindered the show.
Other standout performances included Jacob Benson’s hilarious King Louis, Christopher Glenn’s manipulative Cardinal Richelieu, and the genderbent captain of his guard, Rochefort, played by Kyla Gray.
By far though, as per name, the Musketeers stole the show. Wielding embellished rapiers, the fight choreo was on point—pardon the pun. OLT’s production photo is the perfect capture of what makes this show great. The team of three end the first half of the show claiming war on the Cardinal and with a glimmer call the famous “all for one and one for all.”
Stavros Sakiadis, director of the performance, then makes the clever decision to start after the intermission at that direct point. Calling it again, the audience gets goosebumps with this image.
The only issue that draws from the show is the lighting projection of scene changes. It literally takes away from the actors’ performance due to its distraction. Conventional theatre allows for set changes and for the audience to orient themselves. By projecting the location on to the stage it takes away from the set itself and breaks transitions.
There’s always the question too, when “One Day” from the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack was used between scenes. An interesting choice that fit with the mood, but still led the audience to wonder, “Where have I heard that before?”
Nevertheless, Sakiadis did an excellent job and this is a show that will keep you captivated all night. I fully recommend taking a break from midterms, essays, and exams and use this as a distraction. Just a block from the Rideau centre, OLT is an easy, friendly student experience. Go and bring friends who need some fun too—all for one and one for all.