It’s the silly characters who make Desert Star Playhouse’s “The Three Musketeers: All for One and Fun for All” a successful bit of lunacy.
There’s MiLady DeWinter (Annette Wright), a villain with mildly evil goals who vamps trashily as she tries to help Roquefort (Joel Wallin) gain control of France. Roquefort himself is over-the-top bad, and Wallin has quite a healthy maniacal laugh on him. He is joined by Igor-like sidekick Grizel (Ed Farnsworth), whose ears stick out and who walks like a slinky.
Then there’s the three musketeers. Aramis (Scott Holman) is fey and mincing, Porthos (Spencer Ashby) is old and forgetful, and Athos (voice of Ed Farnsworth) is a puppet. Their quest is to throw the flamboyant king Louis (Steven Fehr) out of office and replace him with the rightful heir, his twin brother Philippe (Fehr again). They want to make sure Spanish Princess Isabella (Kathleen Richardson), who rolls her r’s like there’s no tomorrow, doesn’t marry the wrong guy, too. They’re joined by D’Artagnan (Matt Kohler), a dashing musketeer wannabe with the hots for local girl Constance (JulieAnn Christensen).
Ed Farnsworth has a third role as Constance’s hideous mother, making him the show’s MVP — though Steven Fehr comes in a close second in his twin-brother roles. Scott Holman, normally the best reason to go to the Desert Star, has a role in this show that doesn’t allow him much stage time. He makes the most of it, though, and gets one of the best lines: When Roquefort says during a sword fight, “I shall miss our little tete-a-tetes,” Holman’s Aramis replies, “I never say no to a pair of tetes!” (Don’t worry, that’s as naughty as the show gets.)
Annette Wright and Spencer Ashby, both “Saturday’s Voyeur” veterans, are serviceable in the main show, but even better in the post-show olio, when they play a white-trash couple who insult each other on TV. (The olio also has Christensen, Wright and Richardson — shamefully underused in the show — singing a hysterically shrill “Whistle While You Work.”)
The fight choreography, by Joel Wallin, is quite good, as is JulieAnn Christensen’s dance choreography. (The musketeers’ flouncy “Noble Sons of France” number is a hoot.)
It’s not the Desert Star’s best show ever; the laughs are consistent, but rarely of the gut-busting variety. It is, nonetheless, as fun for all as the title suggests.
Another historical moment in our long Desert Star Playhouse-going career: Joel Wallin, a member of our little crew from the beginning, was in the show. We'd always talked about how we should all go audition sometime, and this show's promise of swordfighting prompted Joel to finally do it. He has a strong background in stage combat, and was fight choreographer for the show. Chris and Lisa and I, naturally, made it our business to try to distract Joel throughout the performance. We got seats in the front row for that very purpose.