Why strapping young men are hitting each other with swords in a York church hall

21 Jul 2014 @ 9.46 am
| News

Alice Lavelle finds her swash well and truly buckled ahead of an exciting new street theatre production in York

En garde! Presenting York’s finest Musketeers [left to right] James Johnson, James Witchwood, Richard Bevan and Ben Sawyer. Photographs: Alice Lavelle.

Away from the heart of York, in the cosy location of St Lawrence’s Hall on Hull Road, a furious clashing of swords can be heard.

Several pairs of strapping young men appear to be in the middle of mortal combat.

Fortunately, it transpires that they are following painstakingly choreographed steps, and not trying to kill each other at all. These are rehearsals for the fight scenes of York’s first ever open-air staging of The Three Musketeers.

The swordfights have to be carefully staged because the actors are not wielding plastic weapons, but replica rapiers that echo times past, of chivalry and danger and copious amounts of mead.

The Three Musketeers

Nightshade Productions and Re-Stage Theatre are working together to bring the show to the streets.

The Three Musketeers will be a fast paced, immersive experience through the historic streets of York. Audiences will follow D’Artagnan on his timeless journey to join the King’s Musketeers and save the honour of the queen of France.

Expect comedy, thrilling sword duels and romance as the 25-strong cast present a unique show.

July 23 – July 27
July 30 – August 3
August 6 – August 10

Time: 7pm

Location: The Golden Fleece Inn, The Pavement, York

Tickets: £12 (£10 Concessions, £5 U18s), family ticket £22. Available from York Theatre Royal

The last time we caught up with York’s swashbuckling heroes, the show had been cast and ReStage’s Chris Green and Nightshade Productions’ Damian Freddi were convinced that everything was mad but brilliant.

Now all the elements of the production are coming together as the show launches this Wednesday (July 23).

The team are practising hard for their starring roles, and fight-choreographer Donald Walker is on hand to teach our struggling actors how to wield their swords.

Richard Bevan, who plays Athos, tells me that his character has a drink in one hand and a rapier in the other for most of his fight scenes.

In contrast, D’Artagnan’s fighting style is more complicated and energetic, to reflect his character.

Aramis is fighting a woman. Whether this is before or after he seduces her, I’m not sure.

The atmosphere in rehearsals is positive and focussed. So get ready, York, to follow D’Artagnan on his timeless journey to join the King’s Musketeers and defend the Queen’s honour.

Expect comedy, thrilling sword duels and romance on the city streets, alongside a 25 strong cast that are sure to present an involving and unique show.

As part of the audience, you can expect an exciting, fast paced and comedic interpretation of the swashbuckling epic.

Director Damian shows us that two swords are better than one.
The boys get ready to do battle.

Athos [right] shows off his skills as Captain of the King’s Guard against Adam Kadowski.
Damian helps D’Artagnan [James Johnson] with his steps against Peter Marshall.

Meet the cast behind this fantastic new production