Reviewed by Nigel Chester
A perfect combination for a sublime evening out. We were lucky enough to be at the opening night of Northern Ballet’s The Three Musketeers, a ballet by David Nixon OBE, who directed, choreographed and designed the costumes.
The ballet was written by David Drew and Sir Malcolm Arnold’s score was delivered perfectly by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia under the baton of Music Director, John Pryce-Jones.
When I told a friend that we were going to the ballet, she said “oh, that’s where they tell a story using only their legs” it made me laugh, and in some ways it’s true, but it is so much more than that, it is every exquisite hand movement, look and gesture – it is a story told with an entire body by a company of highly skilled and professional dancers.
So what is the story of The Three Musketeers? The principal characters are King Louis XIII (Sean Bates) and Queen Anne (Nina Querioz da Silva) I a loveless marriage, Anne takes comfort from the Duke of Buckingham (Joseph Taylor). Cardinal Richeleiu (Mlindi Kulashe) is the Kings advisor, who, through his network of spies, is aware of the Queens infidelities and is determined to unseat her.
Very quickly, we are introduced to the Musketeers, Athos (Nicola Gervasi), Porthos (Javier Torres) and Aramis (Jonathan Hanks)all members of the French King’s household troop, when D’Artagnan, excellently executed by Kevin Poeung, a nobleman down on his luck arrives hoping to join the Musketeers, with his youthful good looks and floppy hair, it’s clear he has a struggle ahead of him. The resulting sword fight scenes are brilliantly executed.
Our story continues as D’Artagnan sees for the first time, Constance, (Antoinette Brooks-Daw) the Queen’s faithful lady-in-waiting, and so, our second pair of lovers are introduced.
All this is performed in the most amazing costumes, using the power of the body and the power of Arnold’s music. It is so incredibly beautiful it feels overwhelming.
I wish I were a ballet aficionado and could tell you of each astonishing lift, turn and awesome step, alas, I’m not, but I can tell you that they are all there, each one performed by this world class ballet company, all for our entertainment.
Every performer whether on stage or in the orchestra pit deserved to be there, I was so moved.
The staging was beautiful and the audience laughed when, on horseback, our Musketeers and D’Artagnan ride to Calais.
The production team, so often forgotten, deserve an award for the Northern Ballet production of The Three Musketeers.
The story moves to its conclusion with politics, intrigue, deception, love and trust and, finally, a Queens honour saved.
It was a joyous event and one I trust will be experienced by audiences the world over for many years to come.
Tickets cost from £10 to £45 (booking fees may apply).
Northern Ballet’s The Three Musketeers is at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham from 4-6 October 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.trch.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 989 5555.
Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall, Theatre Square, Nottingham, NG1 5ND