‘Les Liaisons dangereuses’ gripping, torrid and dark

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There are dangerous connections in Southern California these days and they don’t all involve Harvey Weinstein. In fact one such dangerous connection had its beginnings in France way back in 1782 when Durand Neven first published the works of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. Since then it has been presented not only as a novel but on the theatrical stage, as opera, ballet and even on film, thus demonstrating that mankind seems to be eternally intrigued by seduction, cruelty, exploitation and wild manipulation especially within the ranks of nobility. Now it is being powerfully displayed on the stage of the Antaeus Theatre Company at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway, Glendale, California.

Elyse Mirto portrays La Marquise de Merteuil and Scott Ferrara portrays Le Vicomte de Valmont, ex-lovers and vicious competitors in a never ending game of deception and manipulation of those lesser people around them. In my view the two elite game playing manipulators La Marquise de Merteuil and La Vicomte de Valmont rapidly emerge as two people you love to hate and when one of them is killed there is no pain.

The connection has been made between pre-revolutionary France and our modern world in terms of vast corruption especially amidst the elite. But I don’t see it as being quite that simple. Throughout recorded history there have always been those who use their power and advantage to shamelessly play with and even destroy other “lesser” people around them. As disgusting as that reality may be the show itself is powerful and compelling. And beyond mere entertainment Les Liaisons Dangereuses further serves to stimulate deeper thought which is always a positive.

The performance of Scott Ferrara in character as Le Viconte de Valmont is absolutely brilliant with a constant display of disgusting but exquisitely delivered efforts to verbally control the targets of his desires. You may well hate the intentions and the pain and suffering he causes but you will be forever impressed by his extraordinary, if albeit on some level wildly dark talent.

NOTE: This show is double cast so you may not see the same players I saw when reviewing the show. But Antaeus has a long tradition and powerful reputation for presenting the very best so it is unlikely that you will be disappointed.

It is playing now through December 10th at the Kiki & David Gindler Performing Arts Center, 110 East Broadway, Glendale, California. Show times are at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations and ticketing are available by calling 818-506-1983 or on line at: www.Antaeus.org.

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Top photo of Scott Ferrara and Elyse Mirto by Geoffrey Wade Photography