Closed 2h 10m
The Liar
East Village
83

The Liar NYC Reviews and Tickets

83%
(151 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
7%
Negative
2%
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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Member Reviews (151)

69
Clever, Fluffy, Cute

See it if Cute and clever but also missable. A few good jokes and moments. Light fare. Banter and laughter from backstage spoiled act 2 for me.

Don't see it if Speaking in meter or French farce isn't your cup of tea.

84
Clever, Confusing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting

See it if Another dazzling, verbal confection by Ives this time from Corneille's farce of mismatched lovers. Kahn's turbo-charged staging can confuse

Don't see it if Rhymed couplets not for everyone but Ives' verbal dexterity can at times match L-M Miranda's Inspired ensemble (Tony Roach A+) often dazzles

Critic Reviews (40)

January 26th, 2017

"'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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"A sparkling if sometimes overbright comedy...Mercilessly allegro and dense with enjoyments, it can sometimes feel a bit exhausting on the receiving end...At the breakneck tempo set by director Michael Kahn, some of the actors seem to strain to get every joke to land with a thump...Still, the troupe is mostly expert, and in the case of Carson Elrod, better than that...In any case, to laugh heartily in the theater again, after what seems like 400 years, is worth any quibbles."
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January 26th, 2017

"Ives takes what should be a tough sell for modern audiences and turns it into an awful lot of fun...The production...doesn’t always live up to the writing’s sparkle. Most of the ensemble lack the necessary comic flair for the piece, and Kahn’s staging, for all its fast pacing, tends toward the one-note. Thankfully, there are exceptions...It’s these performers, and Ives’ script, that give the evening its buoyancy and its genuine comic pleasures of both the slapstick and sophisticated variety."
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January 26th, 2017

"Though the madcap first act flies by, the second feels a bit slower, at least until the action ramps back up to its inevitable conclusion. Ives has written a clever script—the decision to stick with verse could have been an annoying conceit, but in his capable hands, it’s an ingenious way to tweak the source material… From the rapid-fire dialogue and the mistaken-identity shenanigans to one sublimely silly duel, Ives’s 'Liar' is a treat—and that’s the truth."
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January 26th, 2017

"Written in verse, the script showcases Ives's near-peerless way with wordplay and wit, gleeful anachronisms and inside jokes. Still, the exposition-heavy first half isn’t quite as breezy or fizzy as one might hope. And director Michael Kahn’s cast might crank the volume down to 10 — Classic Stage Company is a small house, so why shout? After intermission, the plot untangles. So does the production — and everything clicks."
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January 26th, 2017

"The text, which is made up of rhymed couplets, combines sly wit and old-fashioned romantic rituals with coarse humor, a modern point of view and countless anachronisms...Staged with speedy comedic flow by Michael Kahn, 'The Liar' is a lighthearted, light-as-a-feather delight. The small cast, wearing deluxe period attire, delivers the rhymed banter and physical gags (such as repeated slapping and mimed swordplay) with youthful, hyperactive vigor."
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January 26th, 2017

"Even if the play isn't the laugh-out-loud comedy of the year, it comes as a welcome respite from our postmodern age of words without meaning...Ives' adaptation is slow to get off the ground...It never culminates in the tear-producing belly laugh we truly crave. Director Kahn makes up some of the difference with a caffeinated staging that keeps the ornate plot churning along...A diverting, visually sumptuous, but only mildly funny evening at the theater."
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January 30th, 2017

"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."
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February 3rd, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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February 6th, 2017

"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."
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January 29th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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February 3rd, 2017

"Ives’ reach is vast and his timing is impeccable...Characters fly back and forth like so many badminton shuttlecocks. Plot takes second place to action. Belief is surrendered at the door, and all we have to do is follow along. Indeed we do, and it is a fine and funny ride. It does, however, lack sparkle. Carson Elrod and Kelly Hutchinson provide plenty of zest, and you cannot take your eyes off them when they are onstage. But there was a missing element among the others."
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January 30th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 29th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"Master wordsmith David Ives has once more translated and transmutated a French comedy using perfect pentameter (rhymed verse), creating a sweet yet tart soufflé, expertly prepared by director Michael Kahn and served up by a talented cast...Ives doesn’t entirely let politicians or lawyers off the hook (there are a couple of smartly timed jabs at these professions), but 'The Liar' is far less interested in making us think than it is in making us laugh."
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January 26th, 2017

"Its main strength lies not in its timeliness or plot but the subversive whimsy of its language...In bouts of meta-theatrical playfulness, Ives ropes in his characters to grapple with the challenge of the versifying, which is sometimes cringe-worthy, sometimes hilarious–most often, both...Director Michael Kahn has assembled a competent eight-member cast and puts them through a fast farcical pace, with well-placed slapstick and comic bits."
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January 28th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"Early in this French farce, a manservant warns us that the play is in verse. He could have also warned us about the plot, the direction, and most of the performances, because Ives’ clever verse is about the only entertaining diversion offered by 'The Liar'...The only suspense here is how words end up being rhymed. At this moment on the New York stage, Ives is without a doubt the best wordsmith...Only Elrod and Adam Lefevre have the requisite style and ease with the language."
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February 1st, 2017

"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."
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February 1st, 2017

"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."
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January 28th, 2017

“Michael Kahn directs the show with brio, although perhaps too much of it. ‘The Liar’ also boasts a game cast…They all work hard and mainly land their jokes, particularly the invaluable funnyman Carson Elrod…And yet, the airiness is missing. It's as though Kahn and his actors couldn't decide if they should be ironic or all-out silly and so got caught in the mushy middle. That can sometimes be OK for an eggy custard but not for a soufflé—or a French farce."
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January 30th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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."
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January 27th, 2017

"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."
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January 31st, 2017

“A delightful romp…The great joy of this show is the way Dorante effortlessly reels off one invented scenario after another…The story is also helped by Michael Kahn’s strong direction and the characters’ comic antics. Conn is wonderful as Dorante…The best thing about this production of ‘The Liar’ is that it doesn’t try to be more than it sets out to be: a rollicking good time that will leave you laughing in the end, the beginning, and in-between."
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February 12th, 2017

"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."
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January 26th, 2017

"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.'"
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January 27th, 2017

"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."
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January 29th, 2017

"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."
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February 7th, 2017

“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.”
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April 19th, 2010

"Refashioned in a clever new adaptation written totally in verse by playwright David Ives and staged with cheerful abandon...A blissful romp packed with shameless puns, wacky anachronisms and fanciful repartee...Michael Kahn is clearly drawn to the humorous yet touching story as well as Ives’ clever wordplay, and emphasizes both in this fast-paced production...Ives’ rollicking 'Liar' makes a zesty interlude, propelled by its infectious demonstration of joie de vivre."
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April 14th, 2010

"You'll giggle, you'll groan. Mostly, though, you'll be tickled with director Kahn's steadily guided production...The adapter has pulled whole new sequences out of his imagination...Some of the poetic jousting will strike you as precious. Kahn's cast, though, has been well drilled in the reserved technique of not telegraphing the rampant silliness. These likable performers allow us to feel as if a little bit of mendacity were good for the soul."
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May 15th, 2010

"Ives's adaptation of Corneille's comedy is such fun you won't want to miss a word. Especially if you enjoy word play, sword play, foreplay, irony and physical humor. Corneille and Ives have concocted a farce that maintains the charm and look of French costume drama in English language that is contemporary, very accessible and in pentameter!...The cast works very well as an ensemble thanks to Kahn whose direction keeps the words and actions tumbling at a good pace."
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