Pantomimes are usually crazy affairs - lots of singing, dancing and chaos on the stage, with over-the-top wacky humour added in to spice things up. As a pantomime, The Free Musketeers by The Little Theatre did not disappoint. All the elements were present and yet, long time fans of the Little Theatre felt that there was something missing.
The story has the main elements of the original Three Musketeers — Three swordsmen and a mysterious map. But that is where the similarity ends. Zorro (Pooja Balu), Porthos (Abishek George Joseph) and Cerelac (Krishnakumar Balasubramanian a.k.a KK) have retrieved the Map of Destiny from the Dark Lord but, Cerelac has gone rogue, forcing Porthos to kill him.
Zorro and Porthos take the map back to the King, who is mourning for the last strand of hair, ‘Kareena’ that fell off his head. The Dame, maDame Coco Chanelle, played to annoying perfection by Naren Weiss, hijacks the map while the remaining musketeers run off to their next mission — to save Hansel and Gretel from the Evil Witch.
Some twists and a lot of turns later, the map is safely presented back to the Leprechauns, the owners of the map, and the world is right again.
The three actual musketeers of the play are Cerelac, the Dame and Pappu, the King’s to-be son-in-law played by Darshana Rajendran. KK, who has written the script and directed the play, brightens up the play with his entry while his exit considerably takes the wind out of it. Pappu is adorably cute. Zubin Vincent’s talents are not fully used as the leprechaun Deff Lepp, while Swami Creamananda, played by Jagdeesh Kanna, is suitably funny as a throw back to the controversial Swamis around.
The weak script, though, is a let down. Vague in the beginning, one cannot make sense of where it is going till the latter half of the story, when KK enters. The costumes by Rehane, Shailini Nair and others were perfect and sets, created by Victor Paulraj is one of the best the Little Theatre has had in recent times.
One notable change from the pantomimes of the previous year is the numerous actions scenes between the musketeers. The scenes, also choreographed by KK, were refreshing and evoked a lot of ‘oohs’, ‘aahs’ and ‘ohs!’ from the packed auditorium. The other is the sing-along section at the end of the play, which usually perks everybody up but was missing this time.
But its absence didn’t seem too costly, as the kids, who made up three fourths of the audience, yelled and screamed themselves hoarse keeping up with the play. For the adults though, they’ve seen better from The Little Theatre.