Saturday, November 4, 2017


Henri Lubatti and Reiko Aylesworth
Photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography

Playwright Christopher Hampton's adaptation of the 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses comes to Antaeus midst a 2017 firestorm of sexual accusations, innuendo and Hollywood intrigue.   Sex is the catalyst for this production, make no mistake.

Director Robin Larsen's "Libertines" cast confronts the audience in tableau at rise as if to include us in the unsavory goings on.. perhaps we are accomplices?  Set in the years just preceding the French Revolution, we meet the  extraordinarily sensual Reiko Aylesworth as La Marquise de Merteuil in her sinuous form fitting gown by Joycelyn Hublau Parker (whose unique costumes beautifully serve the production). And, as complicated as that sentence might be, the intrigue, also complicated, moves forward apace with the entrance of Le Vicomte de Valmont  (Henri Lubatti), a true rake with a reputation to uphold.  

The tangled web of revenge and sexual deceit sparkles with Yee Eun Nam's somewhat austere scenic designs and spectacular projections that announce the progress of the story supported beautifully by the meticulous orchestration and sound designs by  Jeff Polunus.  The affluent aristocracy embodied in Merteuil and her former lover,  Valmont, blossoms in a plot to take revenge!  The novel written as epistles to and from the principals in the story come to life in Hampton's play.  One needs a program to keep the characters straight. The younger lover,  Le Chevalier Danceny (Josh Breslow) who tends to slightly resemble Valmont in some of the under lit scenes fooled me for a minuteHowever, mistaken identity is never really an issue as the dance of intrigue plays out over the course of the weeks that transpire.

Excellent as Valmont's valet is Aaron Lyons as Azolan.  When a relatively small part shines, it's because the director, Robin Larsen, understood that sometimes it's the seasoning that really makes the repast terrific.  The over all direction in concert with the truly incredible tech that moves the plot along is spot on.  Another bright spot, Nadege August as Emilie, Valmont's courtesan, shamelessly steals her moments ...  as she should

The tangled web of deceit and revenge and switchbacks along the length and breadth of the play are unpredictable, though not a surprise. 

This excellent Antaeus production maintains their own reputation for fine theatre. Nam's stark scenic design helps to bring the story, dark and oddly rich in color to life.

 Les Liaisons Dangereuses
by Christopher Hampton
Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center
110 East Broadway
Glendale, CA 91205
Thursdays and Fridays @ 8 p.m.
Saturdays @ 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays @ 2 p.m. 
Performances continue through Dec. 10, 2017
Tickets and Information:
818 506 5436


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