The Three Musketeers
Chris Hannan's bawdy reinvention chaotic at times, but with a warm festive atmosphere
Alexandre Dumas’ legendary trio undergo a bawdy reinvention in Chris Hannan’s new Christmas play for the Traverse. It retains the story’s core characters – the eponymous musketeers, plus d’Artagnan and archetypal pantomime villain Cardinal Richelieu – but adds several silly dimensions, including a bizarre male pregnancy and an extended farting sequence.
At times, the narrative chaos is grating and the constant mild ribaldry justifies its eight years and up age recommendation. But this Dominic Hill-directed production is ultimately great fun. The energetic cast perform the riveting swordfights and occasional musical numbers with equal deftness and Colin Richmond’s expansive set is particularly mesmerising. Most impressive is the baby-eating monster Lord Mandible, portrayed by a skeletal puppet so huge it draws a few frightened gasps from younger audience members.
And while parts are overdone and others drag impatiently, the joyful final scenes create a warm atmosphere that’s comfortingly festive despite its non-Christmassy setting.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until Fri 24 Dec