The Independent London Newspaper
23rd April 2014

Letters

THEATRE: Panto version of The Three Musketeers is a festive romp at the Rosemary Branch

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John Savournin in The Three Musketeers Photo: Bill Knight

John Savournin in The Three Musketeers Photo: Bill Knight

Published: 13 December, 2012
by AMY SMITH

“OUI! Oui!” “No thanks, I’ve just been,” is a recurring joke in The Three Musketeers.

But that silly joke shouldn’t put you off. The latest panto from the Charles Court Opera is a superb romp that pitches the deliciously dastardly baddies Cardinal Richelieu and Milord de Winter (Kevin Jones and Simon Masterton-Smith) against the innocent d’Artagnan (Matthew Kellett) and the newly reformed Musketeers.

True to form, there’s a panto Dame. Director and writer John Savournin steps into numerous dresses to play Mother Superior and quite frankly steals the show.

His larger-than-life persona overshadows everyone else on stage, helped out by some magnificent costumes from Mia Wallden.

When Mother Superior plans some baking, Savournin sashays in wearing a habit adorned with giant croissants on his lapels and shoulders. Not forgetting the crucifix made of wooden spoons.

Original lyrics come courtesy of musical director David Eaton and pitched at a mixed-age audience – in I Say a Little Prayer Mother Superior sings “Before I put on my wimple, I powder my lady pimples” – but being panto comes with a healthy dollop of double entendre.

Eaton and his keyboard are secreted within crafty staging from James Perkins that also incorporates a drummer and a “typical” French street scene.
Be warned there is audience participation and Mother Superior has her eye on handsome men. Strongly recommended.

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