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The Three Musketeers' performance length sometimes dulls its edge



Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park is presenting its second production of the season, with an adaptation of "The Three Musketeers."

OSP's foray into 19th-century romanticism has historical precedent, because Shakespeare was the romantics' favorite playwright. Very well, let's see how it goes with this play, which could be subtitled "A Country Boy in Paris."

The young d'Artagnan (Wil Rogers) leaves home and goes to Paris with aspirations to become a musketeer.

Before long, d'Artagnan finagles his way in with three musketeers, anyway "? Athos (Douglas Brown), Porthos (Mike Waugh) and Aramis (Robert Shaun Kilburn), who composes poetry when he's not swashing and bucklering "? and becomes ensnared in the intrigues and machinations of King Louis' court.

 "The Three Musketeers" is a story of Shakespearean scale, if not exactly Shakespearean skill. OSP's program does not state who wrote this adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel, but with all the slapping and punching that goes on in the show, it may have been whoever wrote the scenarios for Three Stooges shorts.

Running two hours, 45 minutes, the show has a lot of subplots, sub-subplots and sub-sub-subplots that require a considerable amount of loose-end tying up before the play can end. Although director Jason Burkhart noticeably keeps the action moving, the production flags in the second act.

In addition to Rogers and the musketeers, the large cast of 27 actors includes several OSP veterans. J. Shane McClure plays that wily, old scoundrel, Cardinal Richelieu, who is based on the actual historical figure. A bewigged Ben Hall is the evil Rochefort.

You have to give OSP credit for being modern "? "green," even. In a bit of costume recycling (by Robert Pittenridge), the Earl of Ormsby is seen wearing Dogberry's hat from "Much Ado About Nothing" from earlier this season. 

"?Larry Laneer


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