Sharp comic timing, slick character switches and capella brilliance are the hallmarks of Barbershopera which is back with its latest outing of singing and silliness – The Three Musketeers.
Director Sarah Tipple, musical director Rob Castell and Tom Sadler have between them written the music, lyrics and book for a frenetic and vivacious 80 minutes of double entendre, downright bawdiness and slapstick.
Dumas’s tale of daring-do is ‘reworked’ until all that remains are D’Artagnan (Lara Stubbs), Athos (Tim Sutton), Porthos (Minal Patel) and Aramis (Pete Sorel-Cameron), swashbuckling and feathered floppy hats.
It falls to Nicole D’Artagnan, given that her brothers are not up to the job – one being petrified of otters and the other a practising pomegranate - to break the great Christmas Pudding blockade that is devastating the port of Pissipouville (yep that is the level of humour - be warned).
Cunningly disguised by a false moustache, she seeks the assistance of the booze-swilling, lascivious and belligerent Musketeers but has to buy her credibility with a mission to bring back from England the gay King’s golden plums (I warned you) and thwart the evil Cardinal Richtea.
The talented and versatile quartet populates the stage with foppish monarchs, spank-happy Dukes, discerning commoners, wanting men and wanton women in a fast and daft but beautifully harmonised outing ideal for lifting flagging Christmas spirits. I might just need another dose next week and could happily watch it all over again.