The Three Musketeers is a tale that pervades our culture, ever since its first outing as a historical novel, written in 1844 by French author Alexandre Dumas. Since then, it has been turned into numerous films, a BBC television series, and now, a ballet.
“the gorgeous spectacle expected of the French court”
But how does this swashbuckling story of conflict and chaos translate into a graceful series of dances? The answer is…incredibly well. Choreographed by David Nixon, Northern Ballet’s The Three Musketeers is a perfect mix of the gorgeous spectacle expected of the French court, flamboyant comedy, due to the antics of the cross-dressing King, played by Sean Bates and the drunken Musketeer Athos, and touching vulnerability and tales of love, particularly in the number of dances performed by Kevin Poeung and Antoinette Brooks-Dawe as d’Artagnan and Constance respectively.
“The entire company danced with grace and poise”
Designed by Charles Cusick Smith, the sets were particularly stunning – the opening of giant gilded golden doors opening to reveal the intimacy of the ornate Queen’s boidoir caused a gasp of awe from the audience. Similarly, the costumes were glittering and elaborate, especially those worn for the final masquerade. The vivid hues of scarlet red for the wicked Cardinal and his agents, and the deep blue of the Musketeers in service of the King, also served to indicate the rivalry between them, and during the many sword fights, the stage was a riot of colour, with the onlookers unsure where to cast their eyes.The entire company danced with grace and poise, the strength of the men and elegance of the women being particularly notable. In fact, it rather reminded me of myself at a recent Zumba class. Prima ballerinas, eat your heart out.
“All three dancers, Nicola Gervasi, Javier Torres and Jonathan Hanks performed incredibly well”
The standouts of the show, were however, the Three Musketeers, each with their own distinct personalities, Athos the drunk womaniser, the learned and studious Aramis and Porthos who seemed to be keeping his comrades in order. All three dancers, Nicola Gervasi, Javier Torres and Jonathan Hanks performed incredibly well. Their antics were constantly amusing, and during the group dances, I found myself watching these characters as they skirted the sidelines, behaving amusingly and always in character. Obviously, as there is no dialogue in ballet, the characters had to portray their emotions through their bodies and facial expressions, and this was done admirably by the whole cast.