Two hundred years after Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ sizzling and scandalous epistolary novel LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES slipped into pre-Revolutionary France, Christopher Hamption’s lauded and awarded adaption for both stage and screen appeared, collecting an Oscar, BAFTA and an Olivier Award in the process. It’s the tale of sex, intrigue and betrayal between two jealously-fuelled aristocrats (and ex-lovers), the Marquisede Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont use of seduction to degrade and humiliate others, in this case the virtuous and beautiful Madame de Tourvel. Critic, Dominic Cavendish summed -up the plot in The Telegraph “The destruction of purity and innocence, the cynical pursuit of pleasure at the expense of others’ pain, vice unbounded, yet kept within the impressive mask of civilised decorum.”
A ‘heady and intoxicating’ 30th Anniversary revival, directed by Josie Rourke is currently playing at London’s Donmar Warehouse featuring Janet McTeer, Dominic West and Elaine Cassidy in their respective leads roles.
The Independent’s veteran critic Paul Taylor wrote Dominic’s Valmont is a “seductive sociopath and erotomane who uses strategy as foreplay with a hotline between increasingly active brain and insatiable genitals” He describes Janet as “drop-dead striking …(who) insinuates and machinates in a breathy, mocking manner, her eyes a-glare with sinisterly circumspection and latent with injury”, and Elaine “superbly communicates a state of growing feverish chastity.”