Play in the Park was swashbuckling entertainment

A scene from The Dukes production of The Three Musketeers in Williamson Park from July3-August 18.
A scene from The Dukes production of The Three Musketeers in Williamson Park from July3-August 18.

Fabulous weather and the beautiful backdrop of Williamson Park made The Dukes play in the park a night to remember.

The Three Musketeers is artistic director Sarah Punshon’s first stab at directing Play in the Park and by golly, she did an excellent job.

The adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel The Three Musketeers which was written in 1844, was brought bang up to date and modernised with D’Artagnan being played by a woman pretending to be a man.

The play started in Gascony, with D’Artagnan telling her mother she was going to Paris with her horse Planchet (a most amusing character played by Christopher Bianchi).

Cut to Paris and a market square scene where D’Artagnan first meets the love of her life Constance (played brilliantly by Nisa Cole) and encounters the three musketeers for the first time.

King Louis was played wonderfully by Delme Thomas who was a camp character with a slight speech impediment.

I enjoyed the camaraderie between the musketeers, played by Rebecca Banatvala, Helen Katamba and Milton Lopes.

Then it was the setting of a beautiful rose garden, where yet again Nisa Cole showed her versatility by appearing as a tiny hunchbacked gardener. An amusing note to this is that I didn’t realise that Christopher Bianchi (the horse Planchet), also played the part of Cardinal Richelieu, the ‘baddy’!

Then the audience went deep into the woods, and sat on tiers of logs to watch the action unfold in front of them.

For the finale, we were invited to the orange ball, where all the actors wore fabulous orange coloured costumes.

Lucy Jane Parkinson, who played D’Artagnan, really did an excellent job at playing the lead character.

The addition of ‘Rock the Casbah’ by The Clash and a song by The Spice Girls, complete with some of the actors doing a ‘floss’ dance, really brought the play into the 20th century.

The Three Musketeers is a fantastic mix of great acting, humour and drama and the last scene where D’Artagnan reveals her secret actually brought tears to my eyes.

A play not to be missed.