Tony winning actors Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer return to Broadway in a revival of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses." Rome Torre's review filed the following review.
That 18th century ode to cynicism and blackened hearts is back on Broadway. Les Liaisons Dangereuses, in its 3rd incarnation, featuring a depraved nobleman and one very nasty woman, returns in a bodice ripping if imperfect production that echoes the gender divide still plaguing us today.
The French novel that inspired Christopher Hampton’s play depicts an era in which the privileged classes, ruled by men, forced women into complete submission. But not so La Marquise de Merteuil who derives power from cruelly manipulating and destroying innocent souls. Her accomplice, Le Vicomte de Valmont, joins forces for the sheer pleasure of deflowering young maidens and establishing his reputation as a rake par excellence. That is until he discovers that intoxicating game-changer – true love.
Josie Rourke’s stylistically evocative staging dominated by chandeliers adorning a distressed room portends the waning days of the French aristocracy. And with an excellent cast it certainly looks and sounds just right.
But it’s marred somewhat by a less than climactic ending. What should be a cathartic battle royale of the sexes fails to ignite sufficient heat. And instead of a tragedy we get a lukewarm finale.
Fortunately, there’s Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber in the leads. For the bulk of this nearly three hour drama, it’s great entertainment watching these unparalleled actors hiss and feed on each other like a pair of insatiable snakes.
Incredibly this 234 year old story still resonates. Consider the plot, centered on a prominent man who thinks nothing of seducing unwilling women. Sound familiar?