Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Three Musketeers

Un pour tous, tous pour un ! One for all and all for one!

Pic of the Palais des Sports' dome from the outside
Dome of the Palais des Sports, Paris
The refrain from Les Trois Mousquetaires or The Three Musketeers is as familiar in English as in French. The historical adventure story by Alexandre Dumas remains popular to this day. It has seen countless film productions. 

I welcomed the opportunity to see the latest musical production in French at the Palais des Sports in Paris.

The role of D’Artagnan was played by the decidedly dishy French-Canadian Olivier Dion. However, as befits the famous togetherness motto, he was not the only star in the show. All the leading roles showed star quality. The show plays to the strengths of each cast member. The songs are catchy. Voices are strong. The staging is stunning. The choreography and dancing are superb.

The young, hot-headed D’Artagnan heads for Paris to seek his fortune. His long journey is portrayed in an unsophisticated way. It provides an amusing contrast of his regional origins with the capital ahead and the otherwise highly modern production. Barely has D’Artagnan arrived than he finds himself called to duels by all 3 of the famed musketeers. We know the story in advance. Yet, the pace and acting still deliver the humour as if totally fresh to the audience.

Pic of production posters showing the four musketeers
The '4' Musketeers poster on the roof of the Palais des Sports

The production provides each star with a chance to shine. It is difficult to select all my favourite moments without spoiling all the surprises. Nonetheless, some moments stand out in my memory weeks later. The production of the evil Milady’s main scene is outstanding. The technology and fire combine to convey a very hot, menacing scene. Her cunning pursuit of the musketeers is as portrayed with simplicity and pace.

Although we know the story in advance, the actors keep us guessing until the last minute. Will the diamond necklace be returned from England in time? We still half expect another twist in the plot, as Richelieu waits ready to pounce on a hapless queen. Victoria enters the stage. She owns the stage as the triumphant, dazzling Queen of France. Her dress shimmers, her crown catches the light and the troublesome diamonds sparkle victory at her throat.

As the story is so familiar, it might even be possible to enjoy the production even if you don’t speak French. Les 3 Mousquetaires is a must-see spectacle. The whole cast received a lengthy and well-deserved standing ovation.

Map showing the various French towns in which the 3 Musketeers will play in 2017
Les 3 Mousquetaires remains in Paris until 8th January 2017. It will then go on tour around France in 2017 – starting in Rouen in early February and currently finishing in Nice in July. I’m sorely tempted to see it again. 

This spectacle impresses and uplifts. A treat to celebrate a special occasion. With the right backing and a professional English translation for the script and lyrics, I believe that this musicial theatre production has potential for a successful international transfer. West End and Broadway next stops?

Showcase video:

Karen Andrews is a freelance French to English translator/transcreator, content writer and editor. She has a strong background in marketing and project management.

Email Karen for further information via in French, German or English

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