"A modern day Dangerous Liaisons"
by Margaret Morley for remotegoat on 14/12/11

This play is taken from the excellently written work, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (1782) by French novelist Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Every line seems to be a gem, an opportunity to gain in wisdom and understanding regarding matters of power, manipulation, revenge and ultimately morality. The work has been adapted for the present play and includes all the main highlights and pertinent matters. It must have been a great challenge to follow the astounding film, "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988) starring Glenn Close, however the acting was excellent throughout and a most enjoyable staging of the play is presented.

This morality play has a very complex plot, which has been very well documented on many previous occasions. The plot revolves around the Marquise de Merteuil (Amanda Kay) and her dealings with Vicomte de Valmont which leads to the seducing of Madam de Tourvel (Natasha Staples) and its subsequent consequences. The power that letters can have soon becomes apparent.

Although the advertising flyer for the play shows the characters in period costume, the play was performed in modern dress. Whilst this may be a disappointment for some, it did lend to the idea of how the social interactions might take place today in a modern society and what that would be like. The Vicomte de Valmont could have been very well-dressed throughout instead of wearing casual clothes at times, as he is portraying an aristocrat and smart attire would have been indicative of his wealth and status, that is not to say that aristocrats do not wear casual clothes at times.

The production was in classic style, which went down well, with the design of the furniture and curtains reflecting this. The hair and make up are a credit to the cast. A recording of some very twee 18th Century melodies performed on the flute and harpsichord was played during the interval. The Lord Stanley theatre is a small cosy theatre with large seats which allow room for one to feel comfortable and relaxed.

It is great to see the book Dangerous Liaisons in a theatre production, the show is well worth a tour and the tickets are reasonable priced.

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