Molly Knox is absorbed and impressed by the swashbuckling sound, music and infectious enthusiasm of DUADS’ audio adaption of The Three Musketeers. 

DUADS’ ‘The Three Musketeers’ is a fun and inventive new radio drama bursting with eccentric and emotive characters. With an array of thoughtfully composed music and witty humour, this series should be highly commended and well worth listening.

Having only listened to the first two episodes of the total twenty in the yet to be released series, it’s evident that ‘The Three Musketeers’ starts as it means to go on, with cohesive and clever creativity pouring from every aspect of the production. One particularly shining element of this radio drama is the music, composed and executed by Ollie Fabb, Kat Pittalis and Sharanya Sanjay. The music explodes with the tension and thrill the story seeks to achieve and reeks of swashbuckling adventure. It never feels forced or out of place, even being acknowledged by characters for comedic effect, and always cutting at the right moment in time. From daring duels to emotionally poignant and meaningful moments, the music adds something special that’s difficult to not look forward to in future episodes. It should be noted that the music is a much more prominent and engaging fixture in the first episode compared to the second, which takes on a more conversational and less action-packed instalment and doesn’t warrant such dramatic scoring.

Throughout both of the first two episodes, the foley effects are absolutely sublime. Figueredo and Uemlianin-Stone’s fabulous mixture of cohesion and subtly of sound effects build the world of 17th-century Paris immediately and consistently. The sound effects elevate the whole production indefinitely, blending in and never feeling out of place among the line-up of excellently portrayed and written characters. From the most mundane of everyday atmospheric noise to the exciting clink of swords readying for battle, the foley artists on this team outdo themselves to coordinate sound production that is noticeably natural.

Furthermore, the collaboratively written script is a pleasure to experience. The running gags throughout episodes and tongue-in-cheek one-liners catch you off guard and nearly always deserve a chuckle. The writing dives straight into action and moves swiftly from scene to scene without too much awkward, radio-like pausing. The cutting and editing of each part are slick. The writing warrants great praise in making both episodes run smoothly and allow the listener to sink into a world of love, heroics and jocular chatter around every corner. Although the inclusion of some modern phrases and words among period-appropriate language and phrasing can be a little jarring at times, they can be an effective way to elicit a laugh here or there.

Comedic timing and character chemistry come naturally to this cast. Despite minor hiccups, mainly consisting of cheesy delivery, the portrayal by every actor feels genuinely immersive and reasonably naturalistic. It’s immediately evident from listening to just a couple minutes of this wonderful drama that the cast enjoy what they do; their interpretations of a script brim with hilarity and dry, sarcastic wit. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that more emotional moments in the story are delivered with lovely conviction and precise emotion, encouraging the listener to hang on the actor’s every word.

Overall, Durham University Audio Drama Society’s adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 novel ‘The Three Musketeers’ is funny, thrilling and charming. Overflowing with plot, character and marvellous music, this is a radio drama made to be listened to with no distractions, engrossing oneself fully in the delights this production can offer.

Image credit: Jay Figueredo

The Three Musketeers is available to stream on the Purple Radio Arts and Drama channel on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. With two episodes revealed so far, the remaining eighteen episodes will be available biweekly throughout Easter Term 2021.