Drawing: Dominic West, Janet McTeer and Elaine Cassidy in Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Les Liasions Dangereuses

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.”

 

Drawing: Janet McTeer in The Taming of the Shrew

The Taming of the Shrew

I was very pleased to hear that Olivier and Tony Award winner Janet McTeer has returned to the London stage and is in currently appearing in LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES at the Donmar Warehouse. Not only is it a chance to see this wonderful British actress perform, but an opportunity to meet her and, naturally the possibility of having a sketch or two signed crossed my mind ( and yes, before you think it… not a long journey). This particular drawing is based on her role in Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at the Shakespeare’s Globe in 2003.  She played Petruchio, a young man, intent on taming the ‘shrew’. Blurring the fringes between genders has been a rewarding theme in Janet’s career. Her Oscar-nominated role as Hubert Page in ALBERT HOBBS is another recent example. Actually I read that after hearing of her nod for that role, she and her husband had a low-key celebration, drank some champagne, ate cheesecake and watched DOWNTON ABBEY. “It doesn’t get better than that”, she said. With that type of down-to-earth philosophy I thought she wouldn’t mind signing my sketch. I was right.