Théâtre Sans Frontières, Les Trois Mousquetaires

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

The year 2000 could be the year of the Drag King: women with moustaches are everywhere, even in the new Théâtre Sans Frontières production, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Dumas’ classic story of male bravado, female infidelity and heroic quest is deconstructed in the gentlest of ways by the decision to have the Musketeers played by women. The full range of female-as-male impersonation is represented, from the truly androgynous Helen Iskader’s D’Artagnan, to the gloriously boisterous and buxom Rocio Galan, who moves with ease from the role of the cheery Porthos to that of the naughty Queen of Spain. Her lover, the rather effete Duke of Buckingham, is played by the only man in the cast, James Cunningham, who also plays the cuckolded King and the villainous Rochefort. A nice touch to have the ineffectual patriarchs played by a man and the ‘real men’ played by women.

It is a tribute to the talents of this multi-national company that it was well into the first act before I really took in that the performance was in French. The combination of strong visual design and highly skilled physical performance, together with live music integrated into the show in the Commedia Dell’Arte tradition created a narrative where the spoken text is just one element of the theatre experience. The text also relies heavily on the prosody of language to tell its tale – words sung or spoken with alliteration, rhyme and repetition to create an international language that goes beyond the semantic meaning of those words.

Les Trois Mousquetaires is a show that appeals on many levels – I liked the carnivalesque role reversals, my ten year-old son liked the sword fights. We both liked the verve and vivacity of a production that galloped like a prize steed from start to finish.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Mar 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 26