Directed by Mark Wakeman and Jessi Wilson
Bench Theatre presents this hilarious adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas's classic. Four actors play nearly forty characters in a wonderful mix of jokes, slapstick and swashbuckling.
Join D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aramis as they cross swords with the devious Cardinal Richelieu and the murderous Milady de Winter to save the queen's honour and the country from total war!!!! A perfect tonic of joy! There will be wild wigs, dodgy accents and facial hair that defies belief!
You may know the story, but you've never seen it like this!!!! So, book your tickets now for a night of laughter. All for Fun and FUN FOR ALL!!!
Parental guidance: this is a bawdy and raucous show, with some swearing and saucy/sexual innuendo.
This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Porthos and multiple parts||Jo Langfield|
|Athos and multiple parts||Chris Davey|
|Aramis and multiple parts||Katie Watson|
|Directors||Mark Wakeman and Jessi Wilson|
|Stage Managers||Janice Halsey, Sally Hartley|
|Assistant Stage Managers||Jeff Bone, Becky Davey, Craig Parker, Di Wallsgrove, Alan Welton, Pete Woodward|
|Lighting Design||Andrew Caple|
|Sound Design||Howard Alston|
|Original Music||Archie McKeown|
|Lighting Operation||Mike Jones|
|Sound Operation||Jacquie Penrose|
|Set Design||Pete Woodward|
|Props making||Julie Burt-Wood, David Penrose, Roger Wallsgrove|
|Flyer Design||Dan Finch|
|Programme Editor||Dan Finch|
|Front of House||Ingrid Corrigan|
|Sword Choreography||Chris Janes|
|Special Thanks||Stuart Reilly, Jessica Jones, Jaspar Utley, Natasha Ryszka-Onion|
What an honour it is to be writing these Director's notes, for my first ever full-length Bench production. For those of you that don't know, this show was supposed to be in November 2021, but unfortunately had to be postponed last minute and thus moved to July 2022.
Well, back in January of this year, my dear friend Mark Wakeman, and 'co-director', got in contact and asked me the 'cheeky' favour of coming on board to direct the show in its new slot, knowing he would not be able to do so himself this time round. And if I'm honest, I would have never personally chosen 'The Three Musketeers' to direct, and yet I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and genuinely cannot wait to get the finished product in front of an audience.
With Mark's blessing, I have been able to take what he had already worked on before and shape the production into my 'style' of directing, bringing everything onto the stage, with costume changing and character swapping happening in front of the audience, in the hope that this would aid when an actor transforms into someone else (paired with the amazing costumes and interesting accents...).
I couldn't have done any of this without Sally as my amazing Producer - I was thrilled to get the opportunity to work with her! I've also been so fortunate to be surrounded by utterly amazing people in the production team; I thank every single one of them for working so hard to get this show onto the stage.
Chris, Jo, Katie and Stuart, my cast - I have laughed so hard during our rehearsals and been inspired by all of their talents, and I am so grateful for their trust in me as their 'new' director. I cannot wait to watch you shine on stage and get the laughs you so utterly deserve.
Thank you for coming to this show, the Bench and local theatre - we couldn't do any of this without your support!
The biggest of my 'thank you's goes to Mark, for trusting me with this show - I am so sorry that you will not be able to see it for yourself, but I hope I have made you proud and done justice to your production. 'I don't know much...
This is one of those comedic adaptations in the same vein as the 'Complete… (Abridged)' series, this time of Dumas' classic swashbuckler, played by a cast of four with support galore from the stage-management team, several of whom spend a lot of time on stage with the cast.
The Bench cast – here Chris Davey, Jessi Wilson, Jo Langfield and Katie Watson – struggle against that most dreaded situation in local theatre – a late cast-replacement. Wilson is the director of the play and has stepped in – very last-minute – as Covid-cover for a suffering actor.
Lady – be proud of what you've done, here; very proud.
It's oftentimes impossible to spot that she's a last-minute stand-in. Yes – occasionally, on opening night, she had to refer to the script but was always, always in control of the character – D'Artagnan – and never once was there a loss of focus or a sense of struggle in the performance. Some of the interaction between her and Langfield as Milady de Winter is the finest in the show.
Langfield, herself, proves the most successful of the cast. The script allows, even encourages Acting (with a capital 'A') from the cast and sometimes Wilson allows them too much liberty in taking this as far as they can go. She should, perhaps, have opted for a tighter rein, but Langfield's performance is rooted in a truth, especially in a couple of second-act scenes where she's talking to her prison-warder. Really nice work.
Watson's best character is Cardinal Richelieu, a baddie so black that she elicited pantomime-boos from the audience on opening-night and Davey excels as musketeer Athos. Again, when he focuses on reality – the meeting between Athos and his believed-dead wife – his talent becomes apparent.
It could do with some tightening up at the beginning of the show – but it's certainly a tonic and well-worth a trip to Havant.