Over the years, the story of Les Liaisons Dangereuses has taken on many incarnations from the original story published in 1782. Between the 1988 film with the same name, Dangerous Liaisons, and a few modern adaptations with Cruel Intentions and Valmont, it's safe to say that many are aware of the twists and turns in this production.
Le Vicomte de Valmont (Dave Hastings) bragging about his triumphs to La Marquise de Merteuil (Heather Ferrel). Photo credit Che-Yu Peter Kuo
Director Brian Touchette combined both modern and period aspects for the Chapel Street Players production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. One of the more modern elements is the use of scene change music and a marquee display that let the audience know whose house the scene look place in, and when, as opposed to putting this information into the program. The device worked very well, and it made the show easy to follow. The blurring of lines between a modern adaptation and a period piece did not distract from the show itself; what was a bit distracting was some characters seemed to be in a drama, while others were in a melodrama.
Even though the space at Chapel Street Players is limited, I was very impressed by how versatile the set was. Having the marquee display where every scene took place was certainly a big help, especially when the "room" onstage served as various locales.
Le Chevalier Danceny (Colin Antes, right) defending his lady's honor against Le Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Hastings). Photo credit Che-Yu Peter Kuo
Les Liaisons Dangereuses is a game of wit, deceit, and manipulation, and no one is better at that game than Heather Ferrel as La Marquise de Merteuil. She exuded confidence and demanded your attention on the stage. I actually found myself rooting for the Marquise's triumphs over everyone else. Dave Hastings shined as Le Vicomte de Valmont. It was Renee O'Leary as Mme de Rosemonde, Valmont's aunt, who stood out among the rest of the cast.
Mme de Rosemonde (Renee O'Leary) comforting La Presidente de Tourvel (Sharon Brown Ruegsegger. Photo credit Che-Yu Peter Kuo
Les Liaisons Dangereuses has performances at Chapel Street Players Thursday, March 6 through Saturday, March 8. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it does deal with sexual situations, so please bear this in mind. For tickets, call 302-368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org/79_Liaisons.php.
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