Shows F

THE FOUR MUSKETEERS 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) SYNOPSIS 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. 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