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Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Members say: Great acting, Absorbing, Slow, Entertaining, Clever
75
Critics
61
63 reviews
Members
78
287 reviews
 

Tony winners Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber star in Donmar Warehouse's revival of the classic tale of sex, power, and betrayal among the 18th-century French aristocracy.

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Direct from London, McTeer reprises her role in Donmar Warehouse’s critically acclaimed production of Christopher Hampton's 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' directed by Donmar artistic director Josie Rourke. 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' begins with two ex-lovers who scheme to ruin the reputation of an innocent young aristocrat. As their game of manipulation becomes more intricate, they quickly discover that the stakes are higher than they bargained for—and their last encounter may be their most dangerous by far.

 




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Reviews (350)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
61
Avg Score

40
The New York Times

"Ms. McTeer and Mr. Schreiber come across as magnificent bulls who have strayed into a Limoges china shop...Directed by Josie Rourke, this latest 'Liaisons' falls into the trap of such broadness early and lies there, gesticulating madly, for more than two and a half hours. Occasionally something like real feeling raises its startled head — especially in the second act, when Valmont falls in love despite himself. But such twinges of emotion are more disruptive than illuminating." Full Review

65
Theatermania

"Only intermittently compelling...With a bold design concept and acidly cynical staging, director Josie Rourke convincingly argues that this is the perfect time for a play about the twilight gavotte of a rotten aristocracy. It leaves us wishing that the cast could keep up with the tempo...In bringing so many artfully executed ideas to the design, Rourke has unfortunately neglected some of the basics that make this drama endurable. The performances range from stilted to hypernaturalistic." Full Review

65
Variety

"Under the direction of its artistic director, Josie Rourke, wit and style count more than passion...When Merteuil realizes that Valmont is no longer playing their game, McTeer’s silent reaction is devastating...Valmont has his own piercing insight...Schreiber gives it his best shot, but the sensitive feelings of a charming libertine don’t register in the same way that his more animal appetites do...But while director Rourke’s casting seems a bit bizarre, her staging is superb." Full Review

85
BroadwayWorld

"McTeer and Schreiber star in a well-acted and visually gorgeous production...Rourke's production plays down such humor, going for a cold, emotionally stark feel that is quite captivating. McTeer's Merteuil is brilliantly manipulative, and while she lavishly embraces Hampton's elevated language, her silences can be overwhelming. Schreiber's Valmont is cool and understated, a man who knows his devastatingly manly good looks will accomplish more than his wit." Full Review

45
New York Magazine / Vulture

""A gorgeous but tiresome revival...Most of the laughs in the first half-hour were dead on arrival. That’s exactly backward; 'Liaisons' works better as a rollicking comedy that then pulls you up short, slowly implicating you in its cruelty. It doesn’t help that Rourke directs the ensemble to make the minimal set changes between scenes while prancing and singing as if at Fragonard garden party. It’s a triumph of the visual over the dramatic, or would be but for the actors fighting back." Full Review

80
Time Out New York

"Ghostly and sensuous revival of Christopher Hampton’s hit play (based on the 1782 epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos)...Schreiber’s impassive libertine pairs nicely with McTeer’s vengeful, wicked widow. Director Josie Rourke opts for a languid pace as these two dance a minuet of wasted love and cruelty, a game in which death is the prize and the winner feels cheated." Full Review

75
The Huffington Post

"This new 'Liaisons,' directed by the Donmar’s artistic director Josie Rourke, is intelligent, colorful, and lively (mostly)...McTeer's Marquise is successful, on its own; but she seems to be observing the proceedings, rather than determinedly pulling the strings. Part of this might be due to a mismatch with Mr. Schreiber, who is also an actor of great power. Not quite so much here. Without the pair engaging in a dastardly battle of wits on a taut tightrope, the play restlessly drags on." Full Review

60
The Guardian (UK)

"Rourke offers a feminist reading of the work, one in which the roles women play, by force and by choice, are closely examined...This is an astute and intellectually provocative approach, but it doesn’t always serve the rather more salacious script...Schreiber’s Valmont is no match for Merteuil. He layers some of his eventual rout into the earlier scenes, all but ceding the stage to McTeer. McTeer knows what to do with it...Her extraordinary performance is scorching and chilling." Full Review

45
New York Theater

"The ill-timed if stylish new Broadway revival...Liev Schreiber is either miscast or misdirected...The look of this production is certainly impeccable...But strip away the British locutions, the elegant costumes and the fancy fencing, and the (mostly) quality performances: Does Valmont’s 'seduction' of the child Cecile, in which he carries her onto the bed, and sticks his hand under her dress, in some way differ from a sexual assault?" Full Review

55
Lighting & Sound America

"We have grown so familiar with these decadent creatures and their labyrinthine intrigues that something extra is needed to spice things up -- something which, I submit, is altogether missing in Josie Rourke's respectable, but unexciting, staging...In some hard-to-isolate, yet utterly crucial, way the two stars fail to connect...For all the hard work going on at the Booth, inspiration is missing. Merteuil and Valmont go through the motions, but, really, they aren't in the mood." Full Review

40
Front Row Center

"Tepid. That about sums it up...While McTeer is magnificent as always, she cannot alone hold up the tent. Mr. Schreiber mumbles and seems preoccupied...As for the rest–well honestly they don’t seem to matter too much. They are executing the story, and that is all...Perhaps if it were a better production it would rise above the text into a loftier position. This one only serves to remind us that women’s position is best prone and that their fates are in general fodder for locker-room banter." Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

"A blazing performance by Janet McTeer...Even if Liev Schreiber is ill-suited for the part of Valmont, Josie Rourke's evocative staging provides a compelling portrait of a dissolute aristocracy on the brink of devouring itself...All this would be just so much juicy bodice-ripping melodrama without Hampton's glittering dialogue and without Rourke's sound psychological investigation of the characters' motives...Visually, Rourke's production is both pared-down and sumptuous." Full Review

20
The Wall Street Journal

"Josie Rourke, the director, and Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, the stars, seem not to realize that for most of its length, 'Liaisons' is a high comedy about two lost souls who end up in hell. The acting is consistently unsubtle and unfunny—Ms. McTeer and Mr. Schreiber both mistake archness for wit—and the direction and design are even more heavy-handed." Full Review

30
AM New York

"The new revival of Hampton’s crowd-pleasing erotic thriller is puzzling enough to fall into the category of 'what were they thinking?'...Director Josie Rourke has managed to take the fun and suspense out of this well-made drama through bad casting and design choices, leaving a disjointed, dull and dragging production...Schreiber’s Valmont is disengaged and stiff instead of smooth and sexy...McTeer gives an authoritative performance, but she has zero chemistry with Schreiber." Full Review

40
Talkin' Broadway

"There's practically nothing in this Donmar Warehouse production that touches on danger of any recognizable kind. That is, unsurprisingly, a problem...Only once the second act hits its stride does this production get interesting, and McTeer and Schreiber become genuinely invested. They still have to fight the severe stodginess of Rourke's staging...Merteuil and Valmont should always be flirting with danger. Here, they spend most of their time not flirting with anything at all." Full Review

30
Chicago Tribune

"It is both miscast and misdirected. Also — to be fair to director Josie Rourke and all involved here — time also has not been kind to a play that, to be frank, centers on a scene that now feels too much like the sexual abuse of a minor...This plodding, dull production does not seem to understand the pitfalls of that particular scene, and thus does not do enough to remediate those concerns...The major problem is Liev Schreiber." Full Review

15
Times Square Chronicles

"Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber have no chemistry, no seething wit or malice and are terribly miscast...For three hours Josie Rourke fails to bring the play to life. I blame her for this dull uneventful stagnate production. Ms. McTeer is neither sexy, powerful, nor cruel enough. She is like a tall cool glass of water who the posing Schreiber does not connect an ounce with. This time the Donmar Warehouse fails." Full Review

45
Deadline

"I don’t think the feminist angle is new, and certainly not new to Hampton’s terrific script, now three decades old. So Rourke’s production seems so much gilding of the lily, as it were, making the points with as heavy a hand as possible. It’s skillfully performed, sometimes visually arresting but mostly just plain crude...It’s an oddly off-putting mix of period melodrama and contemporary finger-wagging that left me unmoved and deflated." Full Review

20
New York Daily News

"Delivers all the thrill of watching paint dry...For this play to work there must be high stakes and hot chemistry between the Vicomte de Valmont (Schreiber) and Marquise de Merteuil (McTeer)...The elephant in the theater is that Schreiber is miscast...McTeer fares better. She is a striking presence on stage. She captures Merteuil’s sly cold-hearted calculation as well as her vulnerability. But eventually she becomes static and one-note. Dangerous liaisons? More like bland ones." Full Review

85
CurtainUp

"The foppish Valmont isn't a natural fit for Schreiber. Yet, he displays deft comic timing to bring out the eye-winking humor in Hampton's text...There's no question that Ms. Rourke has given the nasty pair's story a striking and symbolically rich production...Janet McTeer is superb...I have nothing but praise for the stylish staging of this much-told tale of sexual intrigue. And the current presidential campaign underscores the evolving timeliness of Hampton's text more than ever." Full Review

90
Front Mezz Junkies

"Schreiber is riveting in that dastardly role, matching the spectacular McTeer at every jab and thrust. McTeer, a true master of the stage, gives us a woman in full control of each and every devious turn...Josie Rourke has not let her guard down and has given us an equally impressive theatrical experience...McTeer grabs us in that last scene and takes control, demolishing our memories of the film and replacing them with her assured performance." Full Review

90
The Associated Press

"The formidable McTeer has made the leap and so has the taut direction by the Donmar’s Artistic Director Josie Rourke. Liev Schreiber makes a welcome, languid return to Broadway with more than enough chemistry with his co-star...Christopher Hampton’s dark comedy of sexual intrigue in pre-Revolutionary France can be overly fanciful and drag during its three-hour run time, but this revival simply crackles as a witty comedy descends into horrific satire." Full Review

25
The Wrap

"Why are the many American actors in the new Broadway revival talking with an English accent?...In Liev Schreiber’s eccentric performance, this audio disconnect provides one of the few pleasures in what is otherwise a lethargic production...McTeer can best be described as arch in her overly mannered approach to the character’s machinations...As presented here, the Hampton play turns into another of those British middle-brow dramas masquerading as high art." Full Review

90
Newsday

"The casting of Schreiber as slinky, high-styled sexual predator Le Vicomte de Valmont in 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses' threatened to be an uneasy fit...Director Josie Rourke’s celebrated revival from her Donmar Warehouse was hardly a sure thing. It is one now...Schreiber finds another way, an increasingly irresistible way, into a character generally expected to exemplify the exquisite, unrepentant boredom of the pre-Revolution French aristocracy." Full Review

90
CitiTour

"Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber are generating the sexual, seductive sparks that make Josie Rourke’s new production of Christopher Hampton’s 'Les Liaisions Dangereuses' so extremely compelling. What initially seemed to me to be a less-than-necessary revival turns out to be required viewing for serious theatergoers...Delivering a quip or sting with the aim of an Olympic archer or concealing her sneer beneath a crocodile smile, McTeer is never less than masterful." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
78
Avg Score

65
Great acting, Insipid, Overrated, Pretentious, Slow

See it if you didn't see the film and want to know what this story is about.

Don't see it if you get bored with lots of dialogue and overwhelming acting.

Also It is not intense, it is overwhelming. I was begging the actors to sto... Read more Read less

40
Indulgent, Excruciating, Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if you love the other rivals

Don't see it if you want see a better show.

76
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you enjoy classics & you are a fan of any of the great leads.

Don't see it if You are looking for for something fast paced or with more excitement.

76
Clever, Raunchy, Banal

See it if you want to see a cleverly written play.

Don't see it if you've seen the movie. In the revival, the dramatic climax doesn't come to fruition due to a lack of careful escalation of the performances.

Also Also, did anyone else kept on hearing Alan Rickman's sly Snape-esque v... Read more Read less

75
Raunchy, Romantic, Banal, Insipid, Slow

See it if You like sexy people doing sexy things.

Don't see it if You want to see a classic come undone at the seams.

88
Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Intense, Raunchy

See it if You love masterful acting, risqué plots, period pieces and Shakespearean endings.

Don't see it if Stories on manipulation.

89
Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Entertaining

See it if You like watching terrible people masterfully manipulate everyone around them

Don't see it if you don't enjoy scenes of sex and coercion.

81
Funny, Absorbing, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You're a fan of period piece scaled down. I didn't see the original but from what I understand this one is a lot "simpler"...I like that.

Don't see it if You adored the original I think you will probably be disappointed.

55
Overrated, Slow, Dated

See it if A disappointing revival.

Don't see it if you won't, it closed.

100
Funny, Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Entertaining

See it if You like humor and back stabbing. The period clothing was gorgeous.

Don't see it if You don't like people who cheat on eachother.

70
Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like to watch people ruin other people through manipulation games and tricks, or like exploring the minds of manipulatime people.

Don't see it if you are expecting a comedy, desire flashy staging, have trouble hearing, don't like plays that showcase sexual it and manipulation.

74
Clever, Great acting, Raunchy, Slow

See it if 18th century French sexual intrigue sounds like your cuppa.

Don't see it if You don't like period dramas, sexual coercion, blackmail, adultery, or endless lies.

Also A haughty Janet McTeer (my main attraction to the play) alongside a ra... Read more Read less

70
Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Great staging

See it if you enjoy shows that make you think, make situations a little awkward. Acting was great!

Don't see it if you hate straight plays. This one felt a little prolonged and slow moving.

83
Absorbing, Exquisite, Great acting, Intelligent, Slow

See it if you want some great actors performing on a classic story.

Don't see it if you are not into plays. It was a very long show and can be a little slow at times.

Also Liev Schreiber does an amazing job on this production along with the r... Read more Read less

75
Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, "some" good acting

See it if Like good writing. Don't mind one big weak link. McTeer 's total lack of sensuality drags the play down.

Don't see it if Loved the film or original B'way production.

75
Ambitious, Indulgent, Slow, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You are interested in a new take on a play that seems to have not aged well. Good actors struggle and give their all but in the end OK only.

Don't see it if You have the original in mind or are not a Liev Schrieber or Janet McTeer fan

86
Enchanting, Great acting, Romantic

See it if you like fun, romantic romps.

Don't see it if I'm just going to say that I think the closer to the stage you sit the more you will enjoy the show because you can better feel the sexualit

81
Ambitious, Great acting, Raunchy, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy raunchier material married to a time period not like our own

Don't see it if you're going with someone under the age of 13 - and want something that is faster/less dense

80
Absorbing, Delightful, Great acting, Relevant

See it if Janet McTeer making bad look so wickedly good is exciting, you loved Cruel Intentions (you're an adult now, see what the movie was based on

Don't see it if classic language w/ dialect bothers you

88
Absorbing, Great acting, Riveting, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you saw and enjoyed any of the previous iterations of the story, like stories involving seduction and deceit, or love the main actors.

Don't see it if you dislike stories of manipulation or revenge, period plays, or lengthy productions.

Also Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber were amazing. Worth watching just for ... Read more Read less

79
Great acting, Intelligent, Romantic, Great writing, Slow

See it if You enjoy costumes and period pieces, if you like french classics,or Liev Schriever

Don't see it if You don't like the movie and don't like period pieces and want to see a faster more modern show

86
Funny, Clever, Masterful

See it if You are a fan of McTeer and/or Schrieber. They are both wonderful, despite their reviews.

Don't see it if You need a happy resolution to every play. This is funny but also dark and disturbing

80
Enchanting, Great acting, Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a strong production of a great play

Don't see it if you can't sit still for 3 hours

78
Funny, Absorbing, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if Exc dialogue, good acting but prior cast years ago much better. She is a little old for him and Liev does not have an evil seductive qualit

Don't see it if Do not like period pieces with lots of dialogue

80
Absorbing, Dated, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of Janet McTeer and enjoy dramas set prior to the French Revolution.

Don't see it if If you are looking for light, funny entertainment.