THEATRE REVIEW: Les Liaisons Dangereuses

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Donmar

WHEN: 19/12 runs to 13/2, NT Live showing 28/1

This production sold out months before it opened but £10 front row tickets go on sale a fortnight in advance (details below).

Dangerous Liaisons (1988, starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich) is one of our favourite films and when we saw the cast of this Donmar production, which also receives an NT Live showing next month, we were convinced we’d give it the full 5*.

The supporting cast is, indeed, brilliant. Elaine Cassidy (marvellous also in Channel Four’s controversial No Offence) convincing as the tortured Madame de Tourvel, Alison Arnopp in fine voice as her maid, Una Stubbs and Adjoa Andoh also add gravitas and sensitivity.

Christopher Hampton’s play is an adaptation of an 18th century French novel where the cruel Marquise de Merteuil deploys former lover Valmont to disgrace another ex-lover. Letters are used as weapons and the lines fizz and crack with seduction and heartlessness.

Unfortunately, the casting of Janet McTeer and Dominic West in the main roles didn’t quite convince us. It didn’t help that in the matinee we saw both occasionally stumbled over their lines but we were also hoping for a little more electricity between them.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a fantastic play, beautifully staged here and for £10 is an absolute steal. Perhaps McTeer and West were just having off afternoons. Worth catching if you can for the fine supporting cast though.

  • Picture Johan Persson via Facebook courtesy Donmar. Tickets here. Front row tickets go on sale at 10am on Mondays for the following fortnight.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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