Sometimes a little danger is not enough.
Dangerous Liaisons, the play based on the French novel, runs through Feb 4 at Minneapolis Theatre Garage. Produced by Torch Theater, and directed by Craig Johnson, the show recounts the sexual exploits and manipulations of cunning and powerful courtiers. But eventually it all goes too far.
The three reviews I've excerpted below all applaud strong acting and a luscious set, but two of the critics wish for more cruelty and deceit.
Isn't that just like a critic?
Click on the links to read the complete reviews.
Stacia Rice and John Middleton in Dangerous Liaisons
Rice and Middleton have terrific chemistry, and the cracks in his vain and confident character, and her seeming indifference to it, draw the audience deeper and deeper into their lair. The rest of the cast is top notch as well, centered on marvelous performances by Linda Kelsey, Katherine Moeller, and especially Mo Perry as the women caught up in the machinations. Director Craig Johnson does excellent work with the cast, while set designer Michael Hoover transforms the Minneapolis Theater Garage into a fitting 18th-century location.
This presentation, lovely as it is, nonetheless reminds us that the play itself is a bauble. Hard as we try to despise these spiteful villains, or even enjoy the delicious wickedness of their ways, the cold schemes don't land.
...Craig Johnson has directed with an efficiency that demands our constant attention. Ann Michels and Matt Riehle contribute period music, making transitions an essential part of the play. However, for all the sexy naughtiness implied in the play's title, Johnson's production does not breathe with enough cunning deceit.
The main trouble with Torch Theater's production is that, under Craig Johnson's direction, the cast seems at cross purposes over their approach to the material. Major dramatic turning points seem to pass by without truly resonating.
To be fair, the mannered masquerade of elegance in 18th-century France is more than a bit foreign to American actors, and director Johnson lets his performers get away with far more fluttering about than is absolutely necessary.
Did you see Dangerous Liaisons? If so, what did you think?