There was something oddly nostalgic about the revival of The Son of the Musketeers at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre. It’s supposed to evoke memories of the original for those who saw the 1982 production. The theatre is supposed to resemble a 19th century vaudeville house. Not having seen the original play, I was instead reminded of the great television variety shows of the 1960s and ’70s, especially The Carol Burnett Show.
The late Don MacPherson and his wife Pat opened Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre in 1977. They wrote, directed and starred in many plays over the years. Don created the recurring character Rogi, who appeared in over 14 different productions.
The theatre is now run by the next generation of MacPhersons. Jennifer MacPherson-Evans and her husband Laurence Evans took over when Don and Pat semi-retired. Don passed away in 2010.
This year, Don’s son Chris decided to bring back his dad’s beloved character. Chris plays Rogi in The Son of the Musketeers. His funny facial expressions made me wonder if I ever saw him perform when he worked as a clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Jennifer played the Rebel Leader as well as the narrator. The story’s villains are played by Kara Van Veghel as the evil queen and Jeremy Gregoire as her power-hungry lover.
My friend Dave Fennell from Einstein Simplified auditioned for a part at Sweet Fanny Adams during a break in the Gatlinburg Improv Fest last March. He has been playing a character named Spasm in The Son of the Musketeers since May. Spasm is the elderly servant to the clueless king played by Tim Coleman. I especially liked a running joke about Spasm falling into the castle’s moat.
After the play ends, the cast does some musical revue numbers and some audience participation bits. During the unscripted parts, you could see that the cast was trying hard to suppress their own laughter. They were obviously having fun, which made it all the more fun for the audience.