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Theatre Review by Leonard Miller
What: Dangerous Liaisons
Where: Lawler Theatre, MTC
When: 29th May – 8th June
Produced by Little Ones Theatre
Written by Christopher Hampton after Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
Directed by Stephen Nicolazzo
Performed by Alexandra Aldrich, Zoe Boesen, Catherine Davies, Tom Dent, Brigid Gallacher, Amanda McGregor, Joanne Sutton and Janine Watson
Opening this year’s Neon season of independent theatre at the MTC, Little Ones Theatre’s production of Christopher Hampton’s famous script, Dangerous Liaisons, is more than a triumph of theatre; it is an exciting promise for the future of live performance in this city.
Little Ones Theatre is the brainchild of director, Stephen Nicolazzo. A queer theatre collective, they aim to create “camp, kitsch and erotically charged theatrical events with the potential for cultish fascination.” Dangerous Liaisons hits this mark. Hampton’s script is delivered word for word and Nicolazzo has uncovered every nuance and double entendre with sophisticated wit and artistry.
The design is dazzling and deceptively simple. A large chandelier hangs over the audience and brings them into the opulent world of the eighteenth century French court that is ably created on stage. The space is lined with high, gold, lamé curtains and the two, continuously reconfigured gold brocade sofas make up most of the interiors required by the script. What really impresses however, are Tessa Leigh, Wolffenbuttel Pitt and Eugyeene Teh’s costumes. All in varying shades of purple and historically accurate, against the gold backdrop, they create a rich and sumptuous visual style which underpins and enhances the script.
The performers also shine. Rising to the challenge, Janine Watson and Joanne Sutton not only connive and manipulate with an intoxicating wickedness as the deplorable Valmont and Madame de Rosemonde but also succeed in creating characters with depth and emotion. The supporting cast all deliver equally well considered and witty portrayals and as an ensemble they don’t drop a beat.
Theatre is the sum of its parts and this is surely an example of when all parts are excellent. Russell Goldsmith and Daniel Nixon’s sound, Katie Sfetkidis’ lighting and Kurt Phelan’s touches of choreography all serve to elevate an already excellent production with a clarity of vision which is evident throughout. The only drawback with Little Ones Theatre’s Dangerous Liaisons is the limited season. Get in quick, this show is sure to sell out.
5 stars
Photo by Sarah Walker