Off the Ground Theatre are busy sharpening their rapiers, practising lunges and flirting outrageously in preparation for this summer’s touring production of The Musketeers. There will be, they promise, “overwhelming amounts of swash and buckle” as the – now slightly older – heroes charm women (and some men), quaff wine and fight off Spanish and Dutch spies, all in the name of France.
This new story, written especially for the company by Daniel Cambridge, brings the Musketeers back together after they first met twenty years ago. This time, the whole future of Europe is at stake, as mysterious powers aim to topple the most powerful people throughout the continent.
Off the Ground Theatre started working on the Wirral 19 years ago and have produced more than one hundred shows, featuring young talent from across Merseyside and the North West. This will be the company’s twentieth summer tour. The Musketeers is being directed by Chris Tomlinson and OTG’s artistic director, Dan Meigh.
Chris, who recently directed Until They Kick Us Out and assisted on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both at the Everyman, said: “The OTG summer tour is always so much fun. There is always such an exciting mix of tour troopers who have done it before and new faces who have no idea what to expect. But by the time we open the first show we’re a proper company, partly due to the hard work we have to put in – there’s going to be a lot of sword play and fancy footwork we’re going to have to learn this year – and partly because we all want to put on a great show. The big cast, the story and the great routines should mark this out as a bit special.”
One of the main aims of Off the Ground Theatre is to encourage talent from the North West and this year’s cast includes recent graduates from OTG and YEP (including Felipe Pacheco and Lucy Harris pictured above), as well as university graduates gaining their first professional experience.
Dan Meigh said: “The talent of our young cast is so impressive, this could easily be one of those productions where you say, ‘oh, I saw them first, before they were famous, in The Musketeers.'” The company also wants to attract young audiences, so all under 21s can get tickets for £5 (available from their website).
The show will tour the North West, Wales and Ireland, with local dates across Wirral including Claremont Farm this Saturday (July 25), Royden Park on August 1, and Burton Manor on August 6.