Yelp Night at Les Liaisons Dangereuses had me living in sin and plotting my revenge in NYC!
I have to admit that I love Broadway productions. I’m more of a musical fan but there is nothing like watching some electrifying dark humor. It was like viewing the movie Cruel Intentions but takes place back in the 1780’s. From my perch in the first row of the mezzanine I had a bird’s-eye view of the deliciously wicked proceedings being set forth by two of Broadway’s most talented performers of this era.
This play had it all.
If you have seen the movie versions of this story you know what to expect. Even though the subject matter can seem a bit dark and harsh with how the lead characters toyed with people’s emotions, it was also peppered with wit and humor at times. If you are amused watching two adversaries sling barbs, innuendo, and sexual pretense at each other just to try to get the upper hand while proving their influence and sexual prowess, then by all accounts this is your kind of entertainment.
Minimalist stage setup and scenery but it worked well for what they needed. Real lit candles on moving chandeliers greeted each act change. A few seats, paintings, and props for the actors to perform with. Even a scene of nudity that involved the writing of a letter on a woman’s bare behind.
Some scenes had a creepster kind of vibe to them though. Was that really Ray Donovan seducing and forcing himself on a 15 year old teenager? Ummmm….yeahhhh. Yet, it was an integral part of the play that helped set up the story. In fact, some of what went on between the two main characters was kind of creepy, but it was gripping to watch. Definitely not a play for the prudish, and certainly not one to bring the kids to. Adult content here for sure.
In the end even though it seems the woman gets the upper hand and empowerment, she is also saddled for the rest of her life knowing the man she always loved did not love her. His heart was taken by another. Now he is dead and gone forever, and she is in mental anguish. Yet, she still projects a cunning persona as the curtains drop and she proclaims – “May the games begin.”
Absolutely terrific performances by leads Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer who both owned the stage and had a great chemistry between them. In fact, the whole cast did a marvelous job. Liev is a chameleon of an actor who can take on any role with effortless conviction, and McTeer is just so amazingly talented. Both have won multiple acting awards.
At almost three hours with one intermission it makes for a long night, and with this kind of play you really need to focus on everything being said. For some it might seem cumbersome, but I really enjoyed it and normally I prefer breezier musicals. Maybe it could have been shortened to a neater two hours plus intermission.
I hung around and met Janet McTeer afterwards as she exited to meet and great a small crowd of us that had stayed behind. Got her picture and autograph. She was so nice with the fans and answered many questions. Liev Schreiber bailed out and snuck away using another entrance and did not show up to greet fans. Booooo! (understandable actually since the reports of his recent relationship strife might have him avoiding crowds asking questions)
Big thanks to Yelp and Les Liaisons for the tickets. Wonderful way to spend a Tuesday evening being entertained.
Limited engagement for 15 weeks only!
Les Liaisons on Broadway – http://liaisonsbroadway.com/