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The Four Musketeers

Cover to Original London Cast Recording

a comedy musical in 2 acts by Michael Pertwee. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Music by Laurie Johnson.

Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London - 5 December, 1967 (462 perfs)


The d'Artagnan of this comedy musical is a simple countryman who comes to Paris with the sole intention of finding his fiancée, Constance, and bringing her back to Gascony where they are to be wed. In his opening song d'Artagnan expounds his unambitious philosophy of life.

Within minutes of his arrival he tangles inadvertently with the Three Musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis and finds himself challenged to three duels.

Constance has become Lady-in-Waiting to France's gay young Queen. D'Artagnan finds her changed, sophisticated. He is shocked to hear of court intrigues, of the continual struggle between the Throne and the sinister Cardinal Richelieu, that the Queen has many lovers. Constance explains that Paris is a different world. D'Artagnan remains unimpressed, wants to return straight to Gascony. Constance has other ideas. He must stay in Paris and join the King's Musketeers. Unwillingly he agrees but only because of his love for her.

D'Artagnan finds the Musketeers far removed from the heroic figures they have always been painted. Athos is a drunkard, Porthos a womaniser and Aramis a gigolo and thief. He is stripped of his country clothes and emerges uniformed, plumed, armed and at least resembling a fully fledged Musketeer. All Musketeers are warned to keep away from Milady who is rightly suspected of being a spy of the Cardinal. She is placed "out of bounds" to all ranks. We are introduced to Milady in her establishment, The Cafe de La Paix, where she sings with the girls.

The duels between d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers at the café are interrupted by the Cardinal's Guard who, on the pretence of upholding the law against duelling, set out to kill or capture d'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers. The Three Musketeers behave like cravens. D'Artagnan by complete luck disposes of the entire squad of the Cardinal's Guard. The Three Musketeers emerge from hiding and swear eternal friendship with d'Artagnan.

Theatre Programme


At court the next day we see that the gaga King Louis Xlllth and the sinister Cardinal rather enjoy their private war and have a sneaking liking for each other. The King decorates d'Artagnan for his effort against the Cardinal's Guard. Constance is overwhelmed with pride and promises to marry him immediately. But their marriage has to be postponed again. The Queen is in dire trouble and needs d'Artagnan's services for, like everyone else, she thinks of him as a hero. The Cardinal has discovered that the Queen has given her lover, the Prince von Gastein a piece of royal jewellery. He persuades the King to insist that the Queen wear the jewel on the occasion of the launching of the new royal barge in a few weeks' time. The Cardinal knows that the Queen will be unable to do so, whereupon he will confront the King with her infidelity. The Queen orders d'Artagnan to go to Baden-Baden, find Gastein who is taking the waters there, retrieve the jewel and bring it back to her. Left alone, frustrated, scared, angry at everyone's blindness in not recognising him as an honest coward d'Artagnan sings Masquerade.

D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers, who are allowed to accompany him to guard him on the way, are sent off to a rousing march.

The hotel in Baden-Baden contains a large thermal bath with health giving propensities. D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers arrive. D'Artagnan asks Gastein to return the jewel. Gastein, jealous that the Queen is deceiving him with other lovers, refuses point blank. The Three Musketeers persuade d'Artagnan to challenge Gastein to a duel. Their plan is to steal the jewel for themselves while d'Artagnan and Gastein are out fighting.

Milady, sent by the Cardinal to frustrate d'Artagnan's plans, is also in Baden-Baden. She goes to Gastein's room and steals the jewel but is caught red-handed by Gastein. In a struggle she knocks him unconscious with a candle-stick. D'Artagnan marches in just as Gastein passes out, with the Queen's jewel clutched in his hand. Milady emerges from hiding and sets about seducing d'Artagnan, while trying to get the jewel off him.

Constance arrives, sent by the Queen to warn Gastein about Milady. She catches d'Artagnan in a compromising situation with Milady, who, unknown to d'Artagnan, escapes with the jewel. Constance is broken-hearted. Vainly d'Artagnan tries to explain that everything he was doing was really for Constance. Inside Programme
Constance walks out on him. The Three Musketeers arrive and are disconcerted to find d'Artagnan there. He says he has the jewel but has lost Constance. They discover that the jewel has gone and instantly realise that Milady has it. They chase after her. D'Artagnan also discovers that the jewel has disappeared. He suspects the Three Musketeers and, furious, goes after them.

The Three Musketeers catch up with Milady at the Café de la Paix. Here they decide to go into partnership with the money that the Cardinal will pay Milady for bringing him the jewel. D'Artagnan. arrives, bent on revenge, challenges the Three Musketeers to a fight to the death. They choose pistols. D'Artagnan's gun accidentally wounds someone in the café. A fight ensues in which everyone present is killed or laid low. D'Artagnan, who has been knocked unconscious, wakes to find himself surrounded by corpses. Of Milady and the Three Musketeers there is no sign — but, by luck, he finds the jewel which Milady must have dropped. He has succeeded! At last he will be a hero!

The royal barge is launched. Milady warns the Cardinal that d'Artagnan may have the jewel. At all costs he must be prevented from coming aboard. But d'Artagnan, now a new and more forceful character, arrives in the nick of time, sweeps the Cardinal's defences aside and safely delivers the jewel to the Queen. As a reward d'Artagnan is allowed to choose any honour he cares to name. He asks only to be released from the Musketeers. He just wants to go home. Constance, who has now learned her lesson, says she will come with him.

Constance and d'Artagnan get into the royal dinghy and row away from court intrigue to a simple, country life.

Michael Pertwee

Musical Numbers

  1. Overture (Orchestra)
  2. A little bit of glory (D'Artagnan)
  3. Think big (Constance and Chorus)
  4. What love can do (D'Artagnan and Constance)
  5. There's a new face in the old town (Milady and Chorus)
  6. Got a lot of love to give (Milady and Chorus)
  7. If you are looking for a man (D'Artagnan, Porthos, Athos and Aramis)
  8. Masquerade (D'Artagnan and Chorus)
  9. Give me a man's life (D'Artagnan and Chorus)
  10. Baden-Baden (Orchestra and Chorus)
  11. Strike while the iron is hot (Milady)
  12. I was only doing it for you (D'Artagnan and Constance)
  13. Cherchez la femme (Milady and Chorus)
  14. Nobody's changing places with me (King Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu)
  15. If you are looking for a girl (Constance)
  16. There comes a time (D'Artagnan)
  17. What love can do (reprise) (D'Artagnan, Constance and Chorus)
  18. A little bit of glory (reprise) (D'Artagnan, Constance and Chorus)

Cast of Characters

Captain de Treville
Prince von Gastein
Duke of Buckingham
Cardinal Richelieu
Captain de la Garde
King Louis XIII
Lord Chamberlain
Queen Anne of France
Director of the Bad Hotel

Coachman/Thermal Bath Instructor/ Cafe Landlord/Woman/Officer Musketeer/King's Valet/Aristocratic Man/Company


Original London Cast Recording starring Harry Secombe, Elizabeth Larner, Stephanie Voss, Aubrey Woods, Glyn Owen, John Junkin, Jeremy Lloyd, Sheena Marshe and Kenneth Connor - Philips AL3655