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. More…
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.
"The Donmar Warehouse has imported a production worthy of Christopher Hampton’s text. The stage is both lavish and dilapidated, the walls peeling and the floor littered with paintings as if the French aristocracy were already preparing to flee the Revolution—and indeed, by the end of the play, most of the set has disappeared. Director Josie Rourke has flawlessly choreographed the action so that at moments we forget we are watching a devastating tragedy rather than a bedroom farce." Full Review
"A significantly more confident and sexier iteration of Josie Rourke's production. Janet McTeer is joined by Liev Schreiber as her co-conspirator in sexual mayhem; together they capture the characters’ supreme vitality as well as their vulnerabilities. There's a faster heartbeat – and darker heartache – to their tangled dance of deceit, but Rourke’s production breathes easier on a larger head-on proscenium stage where it is not as crowded as it was on the three-sided Donmar stage." Full Review
"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
"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
"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
“The Booth Theatre pluses with a kind of erotic energy rarely achieved on stage — or really, anywhere. Much credit for this is due to Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer, two kinetic actors at the height of their careers whose onstage chemistry and mastery of their craft makes this one of the most delectable nights of theatre Broadway has seen in years...The vision of the play put forth by Rourke is both stunning and illuminating of Hampton’s text.” Full Review
"Who’d have thought that the most provocative battle of the sexes on Broadway this year would be a 31-year-old play based on an 18th-century French novel?...Sexual intrigue among aristocrats may seem quaint. But director Josie Rourke’s staging, fueled by the ferocious talents of Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, proves this is hardly the case...The director extracts witty, erotically charged and deeply moving performances, and not just from the two leads." Full Review
"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
"Prepare to swoon. This opulent revival is delectably seductive, a theatrical pleasure with two consummate actors seducing each other and everyone else they can find, especially us. Josie Rourke directs this long, luscious play by creating superb stage pictures, arranging the characters with shrewd delicacy...They are delectable in their plotting, wicked in their amusements, and heartless in their sport-sex." Full Review
"This new staging signals the Broadway debut of English director Josie Rourke and marks the first 'Liaisons' in my experience to come anywhere near the power of the original. Its newfound elan is thanks to a sizzling cast led by the sublime Janet McTeer and a bolder take on the piece from Rourke...Rourke allows a period piece to tap into gender wars that are being waged even now while ensuring that this 'Liaisons' feels newly dangerous, indeed." Full Review
"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
"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
"Directed but Josie Roarke, this strong production goes for a straight interpretation of the play...Schreiber and McTeer work admirably to fill those very large shoes delivering the play’s clever bon mots with relish. Though set in another time of French aristocrats, the play seems very current today where sexual politics is so much in the news." Full Review
"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
"Promiscuity no longer carries the same mortal taint it did in the 18th century. And fallen women certainly don’t get packed off to convents any more...But in every other respect Janet McTeer brings Laclos’s original vision of a consummately two-faced anti-heroine to thrilling life in this revival...As Valmont, Schreiber is clearly and rightly the junior partner. But he too delivers a commanding performance, full of wry comic touches, even if an extra touch of menace occasionally seems lacking." Full Review
"The acrimonious pas de deux between Merteuil and Valmont (as well as the heartbreaking collateral damage) knocks the wind out of the audience. This is no 'feel good' story, but rather a brilliant, exhausting, psychological drama filled with dynamic dialog and complex character interplay...'Liaisons' is an emotionally tough play to endure...On the night I attended, several people left during intermission; but, a large number of those who stayed gave it a standing ovation." Full Review
"Productions can vary, casts can give different interpretations, and weak directors misguide the show but this play about love, passion, deceit, seduction, lust and much more is a marvel to behold...Schreiber and McTeer are both very good but they don’t strike the right chord together. They lack the sting the two need that causes all this devastation around them and that comes from faulty direction...Despite the minor flaws I mentioned, I strongly recommend 'Les Liaisons.'" Full Review
"McTeer and Schreiber have such an accomplished interaction with each other, it’s like watching a master class in How to Act with Someone Really Good...Yet the intimacy between them can be extreme, as if McTeer and Schreiber are in one play by themselves, with all the other actors in another. Fascinating to watch, but not engaging...Go see this perfectly postmodern production. If you haven’t seen it before, you’re in for a rare treat. Don’t miss it." Full Review
"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
"Schrieber is especially deft in the role...McTeer is adept at hauteur toward Valmont and others, but also effective in unleashing venom and communicating inner pain and distress...Director Rourke strikes a balance between the nastiness of the interplay and the humor derived from it...The drama could use some cutting, as after a while the events seem repetitive...While this is not a production for the ages, it is certainly a reputable addition to the lore and lure of Hampton’s work." Full Review
"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
"Rourke’s stylistically evocative staging 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 fails to ignite sufficient heat. And instead of a tragedy we get a lukewarm finale. Fortunately, there’s McTeer and Schreiber in the leads. For the bulk of the drama, it’s great entertainment watching these unparalleled actors." Full Review
"In other roles, Schreiber radiates a dark, dangerous masculinity, but here he's earnest, almost puppyish...That geniality saves him when it comes to an uncomfortable scene that would seem a lot like a rape in another actor's hands...No one can look at anyone else when McTeer is on stage anyway. The minute she walks through the doorway of her crumbling drawing room, her skirts swishing silently, the candle chandeliers flickering across her face, she is the queen of her domain." Full Review
"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
"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
See it if an ultimate "power play"/battle of the sexes featuring masterful performances piques your interest. Provocative, absorbing, and gorgeous.
Don't see it if you can't handle aristocratic sexcipades or a play adapted from a 1782 novel.
See it if You like top-notch casting and intelligent storytelling. Donmar is always a bit edgy and provocative, this tale is no different.
Don't see it if You are looking for something family-friendly, or a feel-good show
See it if you want to be enraptured by captivating performances by Janet McTeer, Liev Schreiber, and the brilliant supporting cast.
Don't see it if you are easily offended by sexual innuendo.
See it if Love is the greatest pleasure second only to cruelty. J. Dench may be a national treasure but Janet McTeer is the crown jewels. Magnificent.
Don't see it if You want to miss the best revival since the original. Beautifully acted and painfully sensuous as falling candle wax. Schreiber smolders.
See it if You love a good cat and mouse game laced with love, deception, and manipulation with great staging and stellar acting.
Don't see it if You are uncomfortable with sex or have an aversion to period pieces.
See it if You want to see truly incredible performances
Don't see it if You want something big and flashy throughout. The thrill of this show is that the tension slowly pulls you in and keeps you suspended
See it if If you want to see a master in the art of seduction and the complexities of love and romance between the sexes.
Don't see it if You are thinking of entering a convent or monastery.
See it if You like fast-paced, fast-delivered buffoonery. The action goes along at a fast clip, very well-acted, even with Liev Schreiber's understudy
Don't see it if You prefer modern style theater with characters that look and talk like you.
See it if You want to be mesmerized by a cast of both vets + newcomers having a field day with the exquisite language of Christopher Hampton.
Don't see it if You're too busy over the next 2 weeks because it's closing. Although IMO you won't have better things to do than see this exquisite play.
See it if You want to see an outstanding production of a fine play. You appreciate terrific, subtle, engrossing acting.
Don't see it if You are disinterested in intrigue and romance. You need a fast paced and action filled three hours at the theatre.
See it if You enjoyed the movie Dangerous Liaisons with Glen Closeor Cruel Intentions. Also if you're a fan of Liev Schrieber.
Don't see it if You only like to see musicals as this is not. If you do not like stories about manipulation and deceit.
See it if you love the movie or the play. The writing is clever and masterful. The performances are top rate. This exceeded my expectations.
Don't see it if you want wow scenery or staging. This is really a play of script and acting.
See it if You want to see how two wonderful actors Schreiber & McTess interact on stage. Marvelous production, well done. Liev is perfect for the part
Don't see it if You have read other's opinions & are apt to believe what you read, if period pieces are not your thing.
See it if You enjoy period comedy and drama's with a high level of sexual tension throughout. Also great to see great actors doing what they do best
Don't see it if You don't like highbrow period Pieces that you have to listen to.
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