I admit clowns are not my thing. They kind of scare me. I don’t always think they are funny. And The Three Musketeers: Clowns with Swords, appearing at Actors Company, although most distinctively contrasted from other mere buffoons, and immeasurably nonsensical are no “merry-andrews” either.
Imagine Alexandre Dumas’ adventurous heroes in what you may have assumed till now a romantic classic thanks to many cavalier film versions brought to life with beautiful dashing casts, elaborate costumes and awe-inspiring court scenery. Then pause…
Clowns with Swords has definitely not only deconstructed this tale through the twisted lens of a clown, but in fact through extreme absurdity has lent a more accurate character portrayal in the way Dumas wrote them in the novel – less appealing infantry men willing to commit violence over slight insults and treating those they assume are their social or moral inferiors with contempt and cruelty.
Proportionately tangled the expertly orchestrated mechanics: aggressive physical movement choreography, stunts, mime, aerial and wire work, go a long way in telling their version of The Three Musketeers. Fooling around, silly gags and slapstick diversions drive this piece in the capture and attempted execution of their female nemesis all for a magical paper that will create anyone’s own ending to a story. The hot pursuit of their own outlandish brand of justice actually turns them into the villains they are supposedly hunting and we ultimately route for the bad girl as she thwarts them.
As billed – vulgar and irreverent, hilarious and poetic – The Three Musketeers: Clowns with Swords is a much meatier enterprise than most.
No simple jesters allowed. Belly laughs will be scarce. Expect instead to be sufficiently captivated and sometimes appalled but well entertained by this piece.