The Latest Liaisons Reviews and Photos; Hugo Wins Film Critics’ Circle Award

Note: This is an archived entry that’s over two years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material.

Before I haul out the latest Les Liaisons Dangereuses pics, links and excerpts, let me congratulate Hugo Weaving on his latest Best Supporting Actor prize for his role in Oranges and Sunshine, this one from the Film Critics’ Circle of Australia. The awards were announced and live-tweeted a few hours ago.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses continues to draw mostly rave reviews, apart from a few cranks from the Daily Telegraph who won’t shut up. 😉 As I mentioned in the last entry, even other reviewers from the same paper disagree with their Tall Poppy snideness; The Sunday Telegraph praised the play and Hugo’s performance lavishly. I linked to the online version of their review in the previous entry, but will include the print review because it includes a new photo of Hugo and Pamela Rabe. The Australian’s print review is also included under the cut, so those of you stymied by their subscriber’s only restrictions online can finally have a look.

All photos: Brett Boardman
Here’s the new photo by itself, for those of you with glitchy browsers. 😉

STC also added this striking new panorama image of the cast to its Facebook page; it’s a bit spoilery, but shows off the impressive staging:

The latest online reviews include:

Stage Noise by Diana Simmonds: “…There is no visible blood, but the heedless cruelty and beauty of the Vicomte and Marquise are shocking….Even more shocking is how funny it is. It’s partly the rarified and subtle comic skills of Pamela Rabe, who squeezes more out of a raised eyebrow than most can find in a carefully scripted comedy routine; and partly her foil – Hugo Weaving’s ennui-sodden libertine is both excruciating and droll….Altogether, this production is a triumph of substance over style; and there’s plenty of style too…. The arc of the drama is clearly defined, however, and by the end it is heart-rending to witness the inevitable. Wonderful theatre – a triumph for all, particularly the lucky audiences.”

Australian Stage Online: “Hugo Weaving and Pamela Rabe absolutely inhabit their roles. It was a privilege to watch two such charismatic performers ply their craft. The great, destructive love between Valmont and Merteuil is ultimately the driver of the plot, but what is perhaps more important is their friendship, full of witty, clever repartee, and Weaving and Rabe got the balance between the two just right. Justine Clarke provided an excellent counterpoint as the moral Presidente de Tourvel….What results is an incredible piece of theatre from a group of masterful theatremakers. It is suspenseful, sexy, dark, and provocative. Easily one of the best shows of the year to date.”

Curtain Call: “…One is constantly in admiration, awe and envious of the sheer excellence, sophistication and biting wit of Hampton’s construction, in which he deploys words and phrases like rapiers and scythes. Weaving and Rabe, particularly, make the very most of it, with accompanying looks and gestures that imbue a further touch of malevolence. They are dressed in modern garb; a good decision, backed eloquently by the artistic directors, in their programme notes, where they’re upfront in saying ‘Sam has dispensed with the frills, laces and powdered faces, as much to draw the line straight to today as to allow the play, situation and characters to sing, unencumbered’.”

Curiously, given the multiple interviews by the cast and director discussing their interpretive choices, a few critics are getting hung up on the fact that Hugo isn’t playing Valmont as a dandified clotheshorse… Hugo has explained in interviews, as has Mark Strong, that this version of Valmont has become so bored with his life and image as a serial seducer that he’s no longer bothering to keep up appearances. Thus the “cheap suit and shoes” aren’t an oversight or inconsistency, but a deliberate character trait. Diana Simmonds is the one critic who seems to get this: “…  Given that nothing on a stage is there by chance, the range and choice of shoes is fascinating. The Marquise’s footwear is sumptuous and elegant, Cecile’s sensible beige lace-ups signal that they were chosen by her mother and are intended to protect her virginity just as long as possible; Madame de Rosemonde’s shoes are as luxe as the Marquise’s but, she is an older woman, and she has graduated to comfort and flats. Most curious of all are Valmont’s black slip-ons: at first glance they are merely chic and informal, but they’re soon revealed as a little the worse for wear, verging on seedy– rather like Valmont himself.”

Audience reviews (on Twitter, Facebook, etc) continue to be ecstatic.


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