BWW Review: THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Lyceum, Sheffield

BWW Review: THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Lyceum, Sheffield

BWW Review: THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Lyceum, SheffieldNorthern Ballet's Three Musketeers is a new take on a ballet first performed in 2006. It's written and directed by David Nixon, with music arranged by John Longstaff from a score by Anthony Meredith.

The ballet is a loose adaptation of part of Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers story. There is a précis of the plot in the programme, but even then, it is not always easy to follow the storyline.

Audience members who weren't familiar with any previous versions, and who didn't purchase a programme, could potentially feel lost at many points. This is especially the case in Act One, where it's not always clear who the characters are and why they are acting the way they do; the story is much clearer in the second act.

In the large company, Sean Bates has a hilarious, scene-stealing role as King Louis XIII. Kevin Poeung makes a spirited d'Artagnan and Hannah Bateman a dastardly Milady. The Three Musketeers themselves are somewhat underused, which is a huge shame, because when they are onstage, the action lifts.

The fight scenes are beautifully choreographed and exciting to watch. The finale scene, set at a party at the palace, is spectacular. Generally, the dancing is most impressive when performers are physically interacting with one another; some of the group dances are a little underwhelming.

Malcolm Arnold's music is beautiful and evocative, and the orchestra sounds fantastic. Charles Cusick Smith's elaborate set and costume designs are also a real highlight.

Although the plot is not always easy to follow, there are plenty of standout scenes, with a great deal of humour as well as romance, combat and dastardly deeds. It is certainly an entertaining night at the theatre, but I would recommend anyone planning a visit to grab a programme and read the summary of events beforehand.

The Three Musketeers is at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield, until 27 October and at Canterbury's Marlowe Theatre 31 October-3 November

Photo by Emma Kauldhar

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From This Author Ruth Deller

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