Online Comedy (venue)
16 June 2021 (released)
17 June 2021
FoolHardy describe this online comedy as an 'attempt' at the Three Musketeers, which indicates the chaos and mishaps, that are the fundamental fun that this production brings to the story. So nobody should be under the illusion that this is precise adaptation of the Dumas classic.
It has been heavily promoted on one name. and as the reluctant and frustrated Narrator, Robert Lindsay, excels. Believing he was and should be cast as D'Artagnan his sardonic wit and beautiful comic timing provide the voice of reason. Always questioning the quality of this under-rehearsed and disaster ridden attempt at using zoom to put on a show.
Of course, the 'bad script' and the inevitable disasters using zoom are all deliberate and provide much of the humour. The cast of seven are all given false actors names, except Lindsay. The most outlandish being Antony Eden as David Du Lesley. Sounding like some Dumas character, Eden plays up the hapless actor/director.
Choosing to give himself the best two parts of D'Artagnan and Cardinal Richelieu. His increasing mania, embodied in the way his long locks have a life of their own, reaches fever pitch, when in homage to a certain zoom council meeting, Lindsay is thrown out. Only to return to remove Eden from his role of D'Artagnan and play it himself .
Dianne Pilkington as Sarah Noble bring 'Cadbury's caramel' richness of voice to her role of Milady De Winter. Having to also cope with a starving child invading her zoom link. Also David Badella's deep tone and wonderful 'camp edge', makes much of the roles of The King and Porthos.
What is hugely successful , and I'm sure fun for all the actors, is giving voice to so many different characters. Which is crucial when not seeing them perform their roles.
It took time to warm to the use of picture book animation with only objects, horses and clouds of dust for fights indicating where the characters are on screen. It does allow the listener to create their personal vision for each character. But, I can't help thinking, if it had been used more sparingly, and we had seen more of the actors in their zoom windows, this might have heightened the comedy. Making for an even better production.
As a bundle of comic escapism, it's something everyone will chuckle at. And with another 4 weeks of live performance restrictions, it's most welcome.