The original West End Production of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES by Christopher Hampton moved to Broadway in 1987, with Alan Rickman as Valmont and Lindsay Duncan as Marquise de Merteuil. This was such an exquisite pairing of dueling lovers that they were cast again in the 2002 revival of Noel Coward’s PRIVATE LIVES. I saw both productions twice and loved every minute of them.
I recently saw the National Theatre Live broadcast of the Donmar Warehouse’s production of LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES at a local theater and with the announcement of its move to Broadway this coming season, I thought I would weigh in. This is a darker, more gossipy, more ferocious version of the play.
Janet McTeer is a formidable actress, among the best of her generation, capable of fine nuance and grand dramatic gestures, both equally truthful. Her Nora in 1997’s A DOLL’S HOUSE was stunning. Dominic West, although a sturdy Actor, is no match for Ms. McTeer. Especially in a production that has heightened the gaming aspects of the script, she needs a stronger opponent to thrust and parry. Hopefully they have found it in Liev Schreiber, who is taking over the role of Valmont for Broadway. I am really looking forward to this production.
(The play is based on a 1782 French novel. There was a 2008 revival that was not as successful.)