Members say: Clever, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Great acting

About the show

Classic Stage Company presents David Ives' adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 'Le Menteur,' a 17th-century farce filled with misunderstandings and mistaken identities.

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Dorante is a charming young man newly arrived in the city, and he has but a single flaw: He cannot tell the truth. In quick succession he meets Cliton, a manservant who cannot tell a lie, and falls in love with Clarice, a charming young woman whom he mistakes for her friend, Lucrece. Misunderstandings and intricate lies soon ensue sparking this new take on the classic comedy. 

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See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews


"In the era of 'alternative facts' and 'fake news,' David Ives' delightful adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th-century French farce, 'The Liar,' could not be timelier. Written in rhymed couplets - just like the original - the language is delicious and the anachronisms for its time period add a dollop of piquancy to the fun." Full Review

Village Voice

“It's a masterwork of baroque plotting, a little comic fugue in which the simplest of conceits leads to a host of convoluted entanglements. The biggest surprise is that Corneille, one of French literature's most revered tragedians, could be so funny…An expert dramatist in his own right and a delightful versifier, Ives is in top form. A virtuoso script like this will flounder without a strong hand and strong performers, but this show handles it spectacularly.” Full Review

The New York Times

"'The Liar' is, throughout, an effervescent delight. Mr. Ives’s lyric and comic invention never falters as he blends, in capering, cascading verse, both the cultivated language and decorous rhythms of classical comedy and cheeky, up-to-the-minute slang...Michael Kahn, the longtime artistic director of the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, unsurprisingly proves supremely adept at guiding his actors through the verse, so that there’s no daylight between character and language." Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"Ives is in top form and the production is another triumph of style over substance. The slight plot, a trifle based on mistaken identities, is performed with conviction by an excellent cast...Michael Kahn directs with a light touch. My only reservation is that it is almost too much of a good thing. The slenderness of the plot barely supports the play’s length, despite all its cleverness." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"A superb farce replete with delightful characters caught up in hilarious situations. 'The Liar' lands on stage at the perfect time and reminds theatergoers of the enduring importance of vaudeville in times of political upheaval...David Ives earns his wordsmith accolades in this ‘translaptation’...The cast is uniformly impressive...Director Michael Kahn keeps the energetic cast moving at breakneck speed appropriate to the farce." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Dishonesty is the best policy in 'The Liar,' at least when it comes to delighting the audience...The references ricochet between the court of Louis XIV and the most recent edition of 'Variety,' and Michael Kahn's fast-paced, expertly cartooned production is filled with actors who know how to make the most of this comic cognitive dissonance...The fun rarely flags...Ives' arrant japery can be enjoyed entirely for its tonic qualities. Whatever century you're in, hilarity never goes out of style." Full Review


"Sharp and funny verse comedy...A sparkling Classic Stage Company production directed by Michael Kahn...Kelly Hutchinson gives a fun turn doubling as the flirtatious Isabella and her twin sister, Clarice's stern and domineering maid, Sabine. Adam LeFevre is sweetly gregarious as Dorante's father, Geronte...The plot isn't the point here. Ives is a proven master of wordplay and Kahn has his company emphasizing his wit at a clipped pace." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"Ives' laissez-faire reworking of the 17th-century play, only amended with some new scenes and subplots, is a theatrical confection...Under the crisp direction of Michael Kahn, the players bound about the stage, admirably agile...Ives' translation is extremely accomplished in its meter and rhyme, and is littered not only with modern references to Sterno, Chanel perfume and contact lenses, but dramaturgical Easter eggs." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"Ives has breathed new life into Corneille’s' Le Menteur,' a wacky seventeenth-century comedy. A game, stylish cast under the direction of Kahn zips commandingly through Ives’ iambic-pentameter couplets, which echo the original French while also making zippy use of modern English. 'The Liar' is as fresh today, in Ives’ literate, witty retake, as it must have been in 1644...Kahn’s finesse with his gung-ho cast keeps the play rolling along like a well-oiled, cheery train." Full Review

Paste Magazine

"An airy and erudite adaptation of Corneille’s 'Le Menteur'...The humor builds to a riotous second act finale, but in the age of fake news and shallow denigration from the highest office, serious subtext can’t help but be felt...Director Kahn brings a deft comic touch that’s necessary for farce. The biggest laughs carry a catharsis with them and a lack of retribution seems fitting. The cast works intuitively off each other, grounded by a seemingly effortless tour-de-force performance by Elrod." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"Ives’ infinite jokes land consistently because they’re so well played...The director takes obvious care that Ives’ crackling lines trip off the actors’ tongues so felicitously that audience members often cheer. Everything is lickety-split, all the more entertaining for being so...The stand-out performance is a revolving door—it’s whomever is speaking at the time...They’re all flawless...Still, special praise must go out to Elrod. A forever-reliable stage clown, he’s a stitch." Full Review

Edge New York

"Undoubtedly funny and utterly ridiculous in all the best ways…With all of its over-the-top ridiculousness, ‘The Liar’ takes farcical theater to its limits, and its campy, hyperbolic rendering of the form teeters just on the edge of being too much without ever really going over...Regards must be given to playwright David Ives...and director Michael Kahn for interpreting the vision, but the cast also stands out for being the vehicles of the hilariously absurd." Full Review

Broadway Blog

"The chief enjoyment lies in Ives' notable deftness at writing entertainingly clever rhymes, often with corny groaners accompanied by a self-deprecating tone showing just how much he's aware of his own outrageousness...Kahn's sprightly troupers...race along with energy and flair, getting the fun from every pun, and making the two hours pass agreeably...For all the skill and effort expended, 'The Liar' remains on the pleasantly amusing side of the comedy scale, rarely tipping toward hilarity." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"Romantic, ribald, classical, modern, lyrical, thumping—Ives maintains, amplifies, and deconstructs these contradictions countless times across the two-hour evening, somehow exploring every conceivable permutation among nine sharply defined characters without ever wearing out the gimmick's lilting welcome...When the execution grates, it's because Ives shirks the high standards he's set for himself...Otherwise, Ives is in fine form, his writing lively and his plotting smart." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"Between the verse of Mr. Ives and the clowning of Mr. Elrod, it is Cliton who instantly engages our attention and affection at CSC. Elrod might well be the best farceur to turn up since James Corden...Conn, Mendes and Pedlow all add to the evening’s charms, but it’s hard to hold the spotlight when there is a master clown upstage...'The Liar' is sparklingly witty fun and merits a slot on your playlist." Full Review


"Words win the day whenever Mr. Ives takes on a centuries-old classic. Even liars are fun and funny when 'translaptated' by him...It helps that Michael Kahn, who directed this production's premiere in DC, is on board to ensure that prevaricating Dorante's misguided courtship of a Parisian beauty erupts into deliriously entertaining mayhem to extend the humor of the word play with typical comic ingredients...Ives' verbal wizardry makes the entire play feel as if just written." Full Review

Theatre Reviews by John Clum

"Corneille's comedy 'The Liar' is every bit as delightful as any play by Moliere...In this production, the language is the star of the show. David Ives has created a delightful feast of witty verse. It is sometimes anachronistic, sometimes raunchy, often surprising and always great fun. The actors seems to relish the chance to speak language like this... Veteran Michael Kahn has directed with flair, but never allows the physical action to upstage the verbal wit." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"A delightful farce…Ives meshes all of this into iambic pentameter, a rhythm that threatens to become soporific but is rescued by the sheer wit of the adaptation. Michael Kahn has directed with briskness and an eye for what to stress to obtain maximum laughter. The character collage is felicitously portrayed by excellent actors…The overall result is a breezy romp that is consistently enjoyable, and becomes another feather in the cap of Ives." Full Review

Let's Talk Off-Broadway

"This play is for everybody who loves words, word play, unexpected puns and rhymes of an unbound imagination. It’s hilarious–and expands one's sense of the English language...Michael Kahn has directed an able cast, with Christian Conn as Dorante, Ismenia Mendes as Clarice, Amelia Pedlow as Lucrece, and others who share their perfect timing to fill out the humor. I particularly loved Carson Elrod as Dorante’s bumpkin butler—naive but he learns fast...It’s a privilege to see 'The Liar.'" Full Review

The Huffington Post

"A comedy in verse, filled with buoyant plotting, relentless wordplay and just enough gravitas to make it matter. Add in an excellent ensemble, gorgeous costumes, an elegantly simple set and invisible direction by Michael Kahn and you’ve got yourself a very satisfying evening of theater...A solid first act becomes a terrific second act. Elrod is a delight throughout as the truth-telling master-of-ceremonies Cliton. Kelly Hutchinson practically steals the show." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"A hilarious romp...Deliciously directed with quickness and great flair for the ridiculousness by Michael Kahn...For all the craziness and silliness of the dialogue, the idiosyncratic references, and the over-the-top antics, the emotional underlying truth is still present and accessible...This wonderfully hilarious play may have raised my spirit at a rough time in our lives." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"This latest fluffy dessert is delicious and full of lighter-than-air rhymes. Did I mention the script is all in verse?...Though Dorante is the title character and Christian Conn makes him a dashing rogue, the real star of the evening is Carson Elrod...Elrod is a masterful clown, expertly prattling and mugging, but never going over the top...Hutchinson comes in a close second behind Elrod in the comic sweepstakes." Full Review


"Ives is back in familiar territory, the Classic Stage Theater, with his breezy, good-natured translation of Pierre Corneille’s mid-17th century comedy, 'The Liar'...Amiably directed and cast by Michael Kahn, the verse play involves confusion about women named Clarice and Lucrece and their amorous, swashbuckling young men...Just when the rhyming anachronisms get really self-conscious and tiresome, the two-hour frolic is over." Full Review


"It’s Ives’ dialogue, full of unexpected and delightfully twisty rhymes, that makes the evening, sharply directed by Michael Kahn, so much fun…Listening to the jaunty speeches, and anticipating the next clever rhyme, is like watching a master juggler. You wonder what he’ll toss into the air next, and how he’ll keep everything aloft. Ives does falter slightly at times, settling for a merely utilitarian rhyme instead of an inspired one. But his batting average is very high." Full Review

Time Out New York

"As in Ives’s superb 'The Heir Apparent,' much of the 'The Liar’s' pleasure stems from a continual flow of clever verbiage trippingly delivered by a vibrant cast that includes Carson Elrod and Kelly Hutchinson. As lies flood our news feeds daily, the play’s subject might not seem so funny anymore. But high-level theatrical escapism of this nature makes a strong argument for itself." Full Review

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews

Ambitious, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you enjoy being surprised with laughter.

Don't see it if are a stick on the mud, because it is a FUN evening in the theater that will have you leaving the theater, surprisingly happy.

Funny, Great acting, Entertaining, Fluffy, Farcical

See it if Farces, comedies of manners,

Don't see it if hate farces

Clever, Delightful, Great writing, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if you like good, fun acting and writing

Don't see it if classics are not your thing

Funny, Clever, Enchanting

See it if you enjoy farce. Despite my ahange in the taste for humor, I found this delightful. Loved Carson Elrod

Don't see it if you expect serious drama or a musical.

Ambitious, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy Ives' language, puns, and adaptations. Carson Elrod outstanding actor.

Don't see it if you don't like shows in verse, "period" pieces, mixed-up identities, confusing characters. Ives too clever and gets a bit tiresome.

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you like 17th c fluffy rom-coms, brilliantly adapted to contemporary language, directed and performed beautifully in an intimate space

Don't see it if you don't like stories of confused identities, told in pentameter; due to 3-sided seating view may be obstructed from some seats.

Also the "fantastic" sword fight with running commentary was incredible; i ... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Gem of a production, fine acting, direction and completely delightful. Top notch!

Don't see it if If the classics bore you

Funny, Delightful, Refreshing, Hilarious, Entertaining

See it if you like a delightfully silly comedy with a great cast (and Carson Elrod who seems an perfect match to David Ives' comedic plays).

Don't see it if you need a deep plot in your comedies.

Funny, Clever, Hilarious

See it if you need an injection of silly bawdy theatrical fun and love silly rhymes

Don't see it if you don't like silly

Clever, Quirky

See it if You enjoy: Charming comedies in pentameter, Smart wordplay by David Ives, Luscious costumes (a la Three Musketeers).

Don't see it if You're looking for: big deep laughs, simple words, fully linear understanding.

Banal, Excruciating, Overrated, Dull, Monotonous

See it if you want to see a very good performance by Kelly Hutchinson. She is the only actor who appears to know what she is doing on stage.

Don't see it if you have higher expectations than a college-level production of a French farce.

Also Very disappointing. The actors all seem to be on different pages. Some... Read more Read less

Delightful, Great writing, Playful, Sly

See it if You exult in language, especially humorous and sophisticated verse. Thoroughly top notch cast and writing. Pure escapism.

Don't see it if You can no longer laugh at pathological liars who seem to escape all consequences Folks near me seemed to struggle with hearing devices

Funny, Dizzying, Great acting

See it if you ca deal with rhyming. comedy

Don't see it if if you cannot tolerate listening to rhyme throughout the show

Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging

See it if you want an incredibly funny and witty play. Ives' translation is brilliant.Acting is virtually flawless. Carson Elrod shines. Don't miss it

Don't see it if you have trouble following an old fashioned farce. Just go along for the ride. It is meant to be confusing. Very funny and engrossing.

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if an adaptation of a 17th cent. French comedy done in verse (with modern references), you loved Ives' The Heir Apparent and you want to laugh

Don't see it if you don't want a play about a liar or one about mistaken identities that cause confusion (and laughter on our part) or a play done in verse

Also I am always a fan of Carson Elrod (especially in Ives plays) with his ... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if You like entertaining 17th century costume farces with contemporary throw away lines. Terrific poetry translation, excellent acting.

Don't see it if You don't like farces or plays in poetry or versions of old plays.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Great writing

See it if U love interplay of classic language rhythms mixed with modern speech a la Hamilton in a 17th century play brilliantly updated by David Ives

Don't see it if You don't want to laugh at brilliant rhyming wordplay by a terrific cast in a beautifully written modern update of a classic comedy

Funny, Clever, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy Shakespearean-type plots, want a good laugh, and enjoy good acting.

Don't see it if you can't appreciate a silly story.

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great acting, Entertaining

See it if you like great acting, and a fun romp!

Don't see it if you hate verse, and classical theatre. ALthough it is classical with many funny modern updates.

Great acting, Quirky, Great writing, Hilarious, Great staging

See it if are a fan of mr ives plays, the cast is an excellent group of actors. very funny, we had a blast

Don't see it if you don't like to laugh

Ambitious, Clever, Intelligent, Quirky, Indulgent

See it if The Liar in verse 'n deed will amuse you 'n mislead. Once a classic play now modern in many ways. See it for the fool, whose clowning rules.

Don't see it if Sing-song verse you find perverse and actors who shout a curse. Though lively in action it's all of a fashion and wears out its attraction.

Funny, Cliched, Dated, Interesting modern re-write

See it if you like farce, verse in iambic pentameter, period costume, good actors.

Don't see it if enter screaming, stay screaming is your idea of bad direction, or you are looking for a rationale for this production. Not classic at all

Funny, Clever, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you’re not adverse to seeing a play told in verse. Able playwright, cast and crew makes an old story seem fresh and new.

Don't see it if farce is not your thing, the forced plot will have a familiar ring. And then for some, even worse, the thing is totally told all in verse

Also So may varied plays written by David Ives, it’s clear that for diversi... Read more Read less

Funny, Clever, Delightful, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if Like clever plays

Don't see it if Like Ives a lot. The show was fun and well acted

Funny, Clever, Enchanting, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if you like elegant farce-style comedy in Renaissance times, are a fan of the brilliant Carson Elrod, want a good laugh

Don't see it if You are not a fan of comedy or rhyming pentameter in which the play is presented, don't like cheeky adaptations with current references

Cast & Creatives (17)