Synetic Theater The Three MusketeersBy Xandra Weaver • May 19th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Synetic Theater: (Info) (Web)
Synetic Theater in Crystal City, Arlington, VA
Through June 9th
2:00 with one intermission
$35-$50/$30-$45 Seniors, Military/$15 Students
Reviewed May 17th, 2013
The Three Musketeers, an original adaptation by Ben Cunis and Peter Cunis, was a dizzying spectacle of fighting, dancing and repartee. The theater group, well-known for telling a story with their choreography and no words, throws itself headlong into the swashbuckling, raucous tale of intrigue and deception.
The story, adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ famous text, starts in Paris. Young, wide-eyed Dallas Tolentino, plays the fearless D’Artagnan, whose only wish is to fulfil his father’s dream for him of becoming a Musketeer. The Musketeers who reside in the city, however, have more business at the local pub getting into brawls than they do with honorable work helping the king as his guards. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Richelieu, played by Dan Istrate, has set plans in motion to dishonor the queen in the king’s eyes, and set the country to war against neighboring nations, with himself as the only voice in the king’s ear.
As he bumbles through the big city, D’Artagnan falls in love with one of the Queen’s maids, Constance (played by Brittany O’Grady). Constance begs him to carry out an errand on her behalf to clear the Queens name. After convincing the peevish and quarreling Musketeers to join his quest, he rides against the Cardinal’s men and for the good of the country to gain the favor of his love and the chance to become a Musketeer.
This production quite literally leapt at the chance to show off the physical prowess of the cast. Not a man or woman on the cast missed an opportunity to display their considerable dancing abilities. Each fight (of which there were many) was choreographed with daring leaps, backflips, running and jumping and beautiful bright swords flashing and clanging off each other. Yet somehow the action managed to never seem dangerous. The maneuvering of their swords and limbs sent people flying off balconies and skidding off the stage, but the overall effect was of a ballet, versus a brawl.
The best part of the show was undoubtedly the slapstick. This show was not afraid to do anything for a laugh. While the source material may have been high adventure, the production had more vitality in the moments where it made fun of itself. While any of the dramatic postures of the villains fell somewhat flat, the joyfully teasing camaraderie of the Musketeers was where the production felt most satisfying in its storytelling.
Out of the three Musketeers, Hector Reynoso’s Porthos and Matt Ward’s Aramis were undoubtedly the best. Reynoso, an actor of amazing pathos and physical skill, made the part his own in every way. He is an actor who is deaf and used his body and facial expressions as well as guttural sentences to tell a fuller and richer story in half the time others took to tell with words. He made the most of every second on the stage, and drew the eye in the fight scenes and when he was in the background, as he fully inhabited the role of a gleeful brute and the rock of the company of Musketeers. Ward’s Aramis was the antithesis of Porthos in every way, and it made for wonderful chemistry. Ward played the part of the lover whose conquests get him in hot water beautifully, with a charisma and debonair wit of one who has wooed before.
The major failing of the piece was in the pacing and dramatic tension. At just over two hours, it certainly had a lot of story to tell, but too much time was used up in dramatic posing while classical music filled a mostly empty stage. The Cardinal Richelieu in particular used a lot of the stage in stalking and praying rhythmically, seeming to wait for the next character to come in and interrupt him so the action could resume. In addition, there were two duet dances, first for Athos and Milady, and then for Richelieu and Milady. Both of these were lovely in their simplicity, and of course immaculately choreographed, but held no tension since they had no buildup or explanation of why they were occurring. For instance, the dance between Athos and Milady was earlier on in the show, and yet after intermission, they seemed surprised to meet and talk with each other, as if they didn’t know that the other one was alive.
Furthermore, for a script adapted specifically for this theater group, it was unnecessarily wordy. Synetic tells beautiful stories with action, and the dialogue slowed the action down to a crawl in many places. This show had a few high points, and definitely kept the energy up with a mostly fairly young cast. Overall, it needed some tuning to bring it up to par with Synetic’s usual tight and explosive style.
- D’Artagnan: Dallas Tolentino
- Athos: Ben Cunis
- Aramis: Matt Ward
- Porthos: Hector Reynoso
- Constance: Brittany O’Grady
- King Louis XIII: Robert Bowen Smith
- Queen Anne: Brynn Tucker
- Cardinal Richelieu: Dan Istrate
- Rochefort: Peter Pereyra
- Milady: Irina Tsikurishvili
- Buckingham: Mitchell Grant
- Felton: Vato Tsikurishvili
- Ensemble: Zana Gankhuyag
- Ensemble: Rebecca Hausman
- Ensemble: Kathy Gordon
- Ensemble: Kathryn Elizabeth Kelly
- Female Ensemble: Emily Berry
- Male Ensemble: Stephen Russell Murray
- Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili
- Choreographed by Irina Tsikurishvili
- Costume and Set Design by Anastasia R. Simes
- Original Music By Konstantine Lortkipanidze
- Adaptation by Ben Cunis and Peter Cunis
- Lighting Design by Brittany Diliberto
Disclaimer: Synetic Theater provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/9503.
Xandra Weaver has a great love of the process of theater and the creation of art that has led her into working both behind the scenes and onstage. Her career includes working for many years providing sound and lights for both professional and amateur shows as well as makeup work for a feature film. At college, she specialized in makeup to earn her theater degree, and discovered a love for directing and playwrighting. She's also been a nominee for the DC area theater WATCH awards for her work with the company of The Producers with The Arlington Players.