Friday night, we were so lucky to be invited to the theater by a friend, who’d gotten her hands on some tickets. So we headed out to Østerbro, to the very cool Østre Gasværk Teater – which might just be my new favorite venue! It’s located in an old gasometer, which was built in 1883 and abandoned in 1969. The beautiful outer masonry facade was kept intact, and the place was turned into a venue for theater plays and other performances. It’s an amazing building, and this for sure hasn’t been the last time I’ve come here!
We set out to see a rather unusual play: Alexandre Dumas’ classic “The Three Musketeers” – in the style of an 80’s rock musical! Needless to say, I was skeptical, but also a bit intrigued; I thought this could either be completely horrible or completely awesome. Luckily, it turned out to be the latter! (you can watch the promo video here to get an impression)
Now, if this sounds (and looks) a bit off-putting, let me tell you that it is an amazingly fun performance to watch! Young D’Artagnan, properly styled with Bon Jovi hair, tight leather pants and a denim vest, is sick of life as a farmer and heads out to the big city, Paris, to join the famous musketeers – in this case an aging rock band. Upon first arriving in Paris, he meets Caroline Bonacieux (her name had to be changed from the original Constance to clear the way for a heartbreaking performance of Europe’s “Carrie” when she dies at the hands of Milady de Winter), who enters the stage on pink roller blades, and instantly falls in love with her. Caroline is obviously based on Frances (“Baby”) from Dirty Dancing, complete with the curly hair and bubbly, naive personality – and of course you can expect the duo to perform “Time of my life” before long!
D’Artagnan meets the musketeers, who are really a bunch of has-beens, drinking the nights away at the local pub and getting into all sorts of trouble. Quickly, he has managed to offend all of them (he accidentally sees Porthos without his wig, which means he must die), which results in them challenging him to a duel. This is interrupted by the Cardinal’s guards – hilariously freaky “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” style mad girls, who talk in unison – but D’Artagnan fights them off with a wicked guitar solo, obviously.
Two of the audience’s favorite characters, though, were clearly the king, Louis XIII, who is pretty much the mother of all drag queens and squeals with joy every time someone mentions a “young man”. And of course Comte de Rochefort, who is a sort of a Marilyn Manson turned completely psycho – and completely obsessed with the fact that he is not stupid, but very hot and sexy, and isn’t tired on mentioning this over and over again. Kudos to those two actors for throwing themselves into their roles.
The story roughly follows the original, but the 80’s rock theme is seen through with such force that it is utterly hilarious. I don’t even think the eighties themselves were SO eighties! Some examples?
- When D’Artagnan passes out, his fellow musketeers engage in a headbanging session to get him some air
- When Caroline’s husband, Boris, is captured by the Cardinal and Rochefort, they “torture” him by singing Danish and German schlager songs in an attempt to get information
- One of the worst insults D’Artagnan hurls at Porthos is that he has split ends (which the other musketeers quickly assure him is SO not true!)
- When the musketeers are discussing going to London to get the queen’s diamond necklace back, Caroline wants to come, which the guys simply won’t accept (“no girls on the tour bus!”). A movie and song quote slugfest ensues, which D’Artagnan finally ends with “nobody puts Baby in a corner!” The musketeers angrily trot off, but not before accusing Caroline of being a real Yoko Ono!
All through the performance, I was really surprised at the singing skills of the actors. All music was played by a live band in the back of the stage, which did an amazing job as well. My recommendation is for everyone to go and see this funny, surprising musical, especially if you’re into rock music, 80’s style clothes, big hair, tight leather pants, or men in drag.