Classic Stage Company presents David Ives' adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s 'Le Menteur,' a 17th-century farce filled with misunderstandings and mistaken identities. More…
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.
"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
“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 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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." Full Review
"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
"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." Full Review
"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." Full Review
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.
See it if you enjoy great acting, wonderful verse in iambic pentameter, a wonderful well acted intelligent funny show
Don't see it if you can't endure outstanding theater steeped in the past with great regard for today's culture
See it if You love zany comedy in verse set in 1600s Paris poking fun at the rowdy bawdy times. Oh this was such fun. The audience loved it!
Don't see it if You want a serious drama and don't like to laugh out loud. Don't like zany period farce.
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.
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.
See it if You love clever puns, appreciate the quirky humor of David Ives ("Venus in Fur") and don't mind iambic pentameter that's not Shakespeare.
Don't see it if You dislike period comedies and don't get puns.
See it if you love wordplay, clever plotting, pure entertainment, mistaken identities, wit, cleverness, restoration comedy without the formality.
Don't see it if you can't focus on densely clever language in rhyming iambic pentameter.
See it if you enjoy old-fashioned theatre reinvented in a way that blends the old and the new seamlessly and is still great fun.
Don't see it if you are not curious about how XVII century humor can be reshaped to make midern audiences laugh.
See it if You enjoy a really good comedy with great acting, historical 17th century background with contemporary flair, something really different
Don't see it if You don't like rhyming verses, and don't enjoy funny plays, don't like anything Shakespearean-like
See it if You want to laugh and come away thoroughly entertained. You love mistaken identity and great entertainment-the entire cast was amazing!
Don't see it if If you do not like iambic pentameter or if you cannot pay attention as you may miss some amazing laughs
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.
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
See it if UR up for a delightfully witty script w/ more verbal dexterity + wit than the last 5 shows you've seen combined delivered by a terrific cast
Don't see it if You have no sense of humor and don't want to be highly entertained for 2 hours - or don't like iambic pentameter + non-stop rhyming verse.
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.
See it if you like a period comedy that doesn't take itself too seriously. very enjoyable rhyming script
Don't see it if you don't like a bit of goofiness or the rhyming pentameter annoys you.
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies