The Three Musketeers

If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' popular 19th-century adventure novel "The Three Musketeers," Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas' legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic impulse.

With:
Cast: Joel Spence (Porthos), Steven Epp (Aramis), Vincent Gracieux (Athos), Sarah Agnew (Planchet), Patricia Buckley (Constance), Luverne Seifert (d'Artagnan), Michael Lenz (Buckingham), Rob Rosen (Cardinal Richelieu), Barbra Berlovitz Desbois (Milady), Stephen Cartmell (Rochefort), Karin Rosen (Queen of France), Ethan Angelica (Louis XIII).

If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic impulse.

To drive the point home, Jeune Lune plays much faster and looser with Dumas than Dumas ever did with the history of King Louis XIII. But the result of the company’s high-spirited tampering is an ingenious reinvention of the Three Musketeers myth that honors and glorifies the unabashedly romantic spirit of the novel, even while it plays with the book like a puppy with a new toy.

In Jeune Lune’s version, the Three Musketeers are well past their prime and living together in a run-down tenement in Paris. The adventurous days of yore are long gone — the great swordsmen have been reduced to dueling with their silverware.

When a naive young buck named d’Artagnan (played by Luverne Seifert) arrives at their doorstep full of ambition, it seems at first that the young man is going to be severely disappointed. D’Artagnan wants to fight, to love, to become intoxicated by the heady experience of pure adventure. But first, ho hum, the Three Musketeers want him to write a letter to his dad.

D’Artagnan’s initial effort — a paltry “Dear Father, I have arrived in Paris” — is ridiculed by the Musketeers, who value a good story above all else. In minutes, they have puffed up the boy’s letter with fictional exploits and derring-do. The place to look for pure adventure is not Paris, the Three Musketeers teach — it’s your imagination. Soon, d’Artagnan’s imagination takes flight, and both he and the play are off and running at full gallop.

Over the next two hours, the Three Musketeers (Joel Spence, Steven Epp and Vincent Gracieux) act as an irreverent chorus, chiding and baiting d’Artagnan and spurring him on to ever-greater acts of foolishness in the name of bravery. Epp is particularly good as the philosopher Aramis, who rhapsodizes about events so unlikely and hilarious that he comes to embody the playfully absurd spirit of the story.

The Musketeers themselves are largely background figures in this sprawling drama of royal intrigue, which embroils the sexually curious Queen of France (Karin Rosen) in an illicit affair with England’s Duke of Buckingham (Michael Lenz). In an inspired, high-voltage performance as d’Artagnan, Seifert glows with adolescent naivete and brashness, hardly noticing that practically everyone he meets is out to manipulate or kill him.

As entertaining as d’Artagnan’s adventures are, however, what makes Jeune Lune’s “The Three Musketeers” special are the numerous instances of pure theatrical epiphany, when plot details, boundless imagination and Jeune Lune’s ingenious execution crystallize in transcendent perfection. One such moment is the wild gallop from Paris to the English Channel in which everyone onstage is riding a leaping, snorting, wholly imaginary horse across the French countryside.

Embellishment, exaggeration, fabrication, distortion, and even an outright lie or two — these are the tools of the trade for those who aspire to create great art. Call it thievery if you want, but because history lives through stories, the important thing is to tell a memorable tale, and that Jeune Lune has done with magnificent style.

The Three Musketeers

Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minneapolis; 370 seats; $19 top

Production: A Theatre de la Jeune Lune presentation of a play in two acts, adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Directed by Dominique Serrand.

Creative: Sets, Serrand, Vincent Gracieux; costumes, Sonya Berlovitz; lighting, Serrand; original music, Eric Jensen; stage manager, Jacque Bilyeu. Opened, reviewed Nov. 27, 1996. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast: Cast: Joel Spence (Porthos), Steven Epp (Aramis), Vincent Gracieux (Athos), Sarah Agnew (Planchet), Patricia Buckley (Constance), Luverne Seifert (d'Artagnan), Michael Lenz (Buckingham), Rob Rosen (Cardinal Richelieu), Barbra Berlovitz Desbois (Milady), Stephen Cartmell (Rochefort), Karin Rosen (Queen of France), Ethan Angelica (Louis XIII).

More Legit

  • Eric McCormack First Time in Variety

    'Will & Grace' Star Eric McCormack Looks Back on Early Stage Roles

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda Announces The Hamildrops (Listen)

    Lin-Manuel Miranda Announces 'Hamilton' Mixtape Vol. 2 With 'Ben Franklin's Song'

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • Pinocchio review

    London Theater Review: 'Pinocchio'

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • The Children review

    Broadway Review: 'The Children'

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • Marilyn Stasio's 10 Best New York

    10 Best New York Theater Productions of 2017

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • Adam Driver

    Adam Driver to Star in 'Burn This' on Broadway

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

  • The Twilight Zone review

    London Theater Review: 'The Twilight Zone'

    If all artists are thieves, Theatre de la Jeune Lune has taken the art of artistic pilferage one step further: Rather than present a straightforward adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ popular 19th-century adventure novel “The Three Musketeers,” Jeune Lune has embraced Dumas’ legendary disregard for historical accuracy to create a brave, swashbuckling celebration of the artistic […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content