Witty, Wild & Wacky Western! *****

August 20 2015

The Magnificent Three

Penlee Park, Penzance Review by Frank Ruhrmund

HAVING been reared on a diet of oaters (B Westerns), I have to admit, Miracle Theatre’s The Magnificent Three was tailor made for me.

For one who, in his days home on the range shot more bandits and Red Indians than William Cody did buffaloes, the cry of “Why do I always have to be an Indian?” rang more bells than even Billy or the Sundance Kid ever did.
Written as well as directed by the indefatigable and imaginative Bill Scott it contained more cliches of the genre and I relished every wild Western second of it.

For a couple of hours or so Penlee Park was Monument Valley, Bill Scott was John Ford, and he gave us everything a boy ever wanted, from a saloon with swinging doors to the arrival of a gun-slinging stranger in a town where hope sprang eternal and to which the railroad was coming. He even came up with a horse, aluminium rather than iron, but a steed which could hardly be more “ornery” and whose would-be rider needed the help of someone from the audience to mount.

From its slow motion action scenes, almost worth seeing for these alone, to the final shoot-out, this was glorious fun.

Rather like John Ford, so Bill Scott has his “stock company” of players, and all six were magnificent: Ciaran Clarke (Nate Milton), Benjamin Dyson (Clay Masterson), Ben Kernow (Jed Carter), Catherine Lake (Dick Dooley), Rebecca Rowe (Connie Milton), and Hannah Stephens (Esmeralda Fabiola La Falsa), so, too, was Tom Adams’ happy hoedown, foot-tapping music, and the set and costumes by Alan and Jude Munden. Altogether a magnificent posse of nine rather than three, while it may be invidious to single out one as being more magnificent than his, or rather her, companions on the trail, Catherine Lake as the masked, dressed in black, gun-slinging wanted man or woman Dick Dooley who walked with a hopeful spring in his/her step was simply splendid. The epitome of the baddies I almost always preferred to the goodies way back when, he/she was the pasta sauce on a spaghetti Western which was a question of who didn’t rather than who did shoot the sheriff. Not that it mattered for this Western was as witty and wacky as it was wild.

Touring until the weed stops tumbling – August 29 – don’t miss it!