'Musketeers' well cast and created with vision

French author Alexandre Dumas once said, “One’s work may be finished someday but one’s education never” — and, while Dusan Magdolen’s work has finished, it’s obvious his education on the nuances of writing a play has continued.

Magdolen’s take on The Wizard of Oz for X Fest in 2016 was fresh and vibrant but, with his adaptation of Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, he has honed his dry wit and created a wonderful version with a healthy feminist punch that is so topical right now.

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It would be wrong to reveal too much in this review but suffice to say in Magdolen’s hands, the story focuses on Diane D’Artagnan, who longs to be a member of the king’s musketeer troupe but must disguise herself as a man in order to accomplish it.

There are many trials and tribulations along the way, a route that is peppered with pretty much every stereotype possible — but it works so well.

There’s the evil cardinal, who is truly so, as portrayed by Wyatt Purcha.

There’s the flaky, self-obsessed king, and casting Andrew Cooper in the role was brilliant.

Watching the two share the stage was like sitting in the audience at the Black Box Theatre four years ago when the pair, then students in the theatre program at Thompson Rivers University, starred in The Beaux Stratagem. They are like yin and yang — Purcha the steady to Cooper’s physicality.

The cast as a whole is stellar but, for me, it was Laine Gillies who drew my attention as D’Artagnan and never lost it.

The last time I saw the Westsyde secondary student act was in that school’s production of Medea, a challenging play that had her in the titular role. She showed great depth then and it is obvious her potential is exponential.

Anyone familiar with past X Fest plays will recognize and immediately know how good the cast is when they see it includes Randi Edmundson, Melissa Purcha (who also choreographed the many sword fights) Brittney Martens and Maddison Hartloff. New to the theatre company are Nick Olsoff, Taylor James McCallum and Emily Whalen. Here’s hoping to see more from them, too.

It’s obvious the entire company responded to the vision director Alyssa Bradac had with her X Fest directorial debut of Magdolen’s play.

It’s not always easy producing plays outdoors, as X Fest does every summer at Prince Charles Park, but Project X has developed a great stage template that always works. Credit goes to Jared Raschke as the set designer and project manager, Selena Tobin as the technical director and Joel Feenstra, who was tasked with building the props, painting the scenes and carpentry work.

I loved the music — who would have thought to include Radiohead’s Creep in the background or Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters? In this case, credit goes to sound designer Roya Mole.

Paired with Musketeers is The Three Munsch-keteers, featuring five Robert Munsch stories.

X Fest continues to July 28. Munsch-keteers is on Tuesdays and Fridays with 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows. The other nights are Musketeers at 7 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Kamloops Live box office, 1025 Lorne St., 250-374-5483, kamloopslive.ca.

While the plays are family-friendly, July 27 features an improv challenge with the casts and crews of both plays at 9:30 p.m.

© Kamloops This Week


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