REVIEW: Dangerous Liaisons

The Vicomte to Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil are a couple of French Aristocrats who find their amusement seducing and destroying the lives of those around them in Christopher Hampton’s Dangerous Liaisons, on now through June 24th at the Ottawa Little Theatre.

Having trouble with the video? Watch directly on YouTube instead.

What did you think? Who was more despicable? Valmont or Merteuil? Did either of them get what they deserved in the end? Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to know more about the show, here’s our preview of Dangerous Liaisons, including interviews with the cast and director, a sampling of scenes from the show, and a whole mess of photos.

For more info, including show times and how to buy tickets, visit the Ottawa Little Theatre online.

And for lovers of the written word, here’s the script in print form:

Set in 18th century France: Dangerous Liaisons follows the ravenous Marquise de Merteuil and her friend and former lover, the rakish Vicomte de Valmont, both experts and manipulating and destroying the lives of others. Merteuil enlists Valmont to seduce a young girl in the hopes of humiliating the girl’s soon-to-be husband, while Valmont is on his own expedition to seduce the honorable Madame de Tourvel.

Dangerous Liaisons at the Ottawa Little Theatre, reviewed by Production OttawaSo, yes, the characters are difficult to sympathize with. They play games and seduce others around them simply for fun. But what gives the play its intrigue and its drama are the undercurrents of deception, manipulation and sexual domination. Naturally, there are plenty of double entendres and slight quips in the script that will delight the audience if they manage to catch it.

All the performances were very strong, but the three main female characters really stood out. Venetia Lawless, is naturally haughty and dominant in her portrayal of the amoral Marquise De Merteuil. Sara Duplancic’s innocence and innate curiosity is very natural as the virginal Cecille. And Heather Archibald is excellent as Mme, de Tourvel. Her performance is very emotional and she really tugs at the heart strings in her performance. Her betrayal at the hands of Vicomte is especially painful.

The set is really simple while at the same time exemplifying the elegance of the 18th century setting. A door frame, some basic furniture and the proper lighting is all it takes and our brain can fill in the rest. All the characters are also in period dress. Most curious about the show design, though, was the music choice. The play opens and closes with a classical violin solo. But during scene changes, contemporary pop music is played. Now, to be fair, the songs all deal with the larger theme of love and deception, and show the universality of the themes that are going on. But when everything else is period, tying Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” to the play can be a jarring juxtaposition.

That aside, Ottawa Little Theatre’s presentation of Dangerous Liaisons if full of strong characters, solid design and a lot of great moments. Plus, there are also bedroom scenes, girls in night gowns, a little beefcake for the ladies, too and a lot of sexual innuendo.

Show Producer: Allan Mackey
Reviewer: Kurt Shantz
Produced by Valley Wind Productions for Production Ottawa


Kurt Shantz

About Kurt Shantz

Kurt Shantz is a Theatre and Scriptwriting graduate and an occasional Should You See It reviewer. He currently works as a warehouse clerk, but has big aspirations of someday achieving his dream of becoming a senior warehouse clerk. He's also been known to write on occasion.

Related posts:

What do you think?

We fully encourage discussion and want to know what you're thinking but always remember to keep it civil and don't make any personal attacks against the article author or another commenter.