"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
"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
"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
""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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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