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’Les Liaisons Dangereuses’ At SHCC: Ooh La La!

Originally Posted: March 19, 2012

Cast of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (Dangerous Liaisons) at Southampton Cultural Center, including Barbara Jo Howard, Brooke Alexander, Vincent Carbone (kneeling), Seth Hendricks, Julie King, Susan Cincotta, Bonnie Grice, Adam Fronc, Charles Parshley and Kasia Klimiuk. (Joe Strand)

Southampton - The Center Stage at Southampton Cultural Center is presenting the Broadway and film hit, "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" (Dangerous Liaisons) at the Levitas Center for the Arts through April 1, 2012 - Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Directed and designed by the incomparable Michael Disher, this adapation brings together a talented group of seasoned veterans and footlight newbies who all get to behave naughty.

Adapted from the 1782 novel of the same title by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, "The plot focuses on the Marquise de Merteuil (Brooke Alexander) and the Vicomte de Valmont (Seth Hendricks), as rivals who use sex as a weapon of humiliation and degradation. Their targets are the virtuous (and married) Madame de Tourvel (Kasia Klimiuk) and Cécile de Volanges (Julie King), a young girl who has fallen in love with her music tutor, the Chevalier Danceny (Adam Fronc). In order to gain their trust, Merteuil and Valmont pretend to help the secret lovers so they can use them later in their own treacherous scheming seductions and betrayals."

The lovely cast of ladies with director Michael Disher are both stunning and cunning. (Joe Strand)

Sound a bit confusing? Its not really - certainly not for 1930s Paris as the play reveals, nor for anywhere 2012 - that is not as long as love, lust, power, revenge and betrayal remain human emotions many use for their personal gain.

Although the audience on Sunday, March 18, was small in numbers, this cast gave an entertaining and energetic performance headed by the talented Alexander, who has enjoyed a long career in the entertainment industry and television, but who makes her theatrical debut with this play, and she rises to the task admirably. Her natural elegance is perfect for her role as a Marquise, and her smooth and silky vocal cadences keep one intrigued - and yes - one does believe her ability to tame the most ardent lovers to do her bidding.

Hendricks' portrayal of Vicomte de Valmont allows him to be both dashing and despicable, and yet his pathos is evident in the second act when his deeds contribute to the demise of his true love. On stage in 17 of 18 scenes, Hendricks has worked with Disher in the past, and it is obvious that the sensibilities of both actor and director mesh quite well to bring a top notch performance to the stage.

Adam Fronc obviously happy to be working with Michael Disher on another production on SHCC. (Joe Strand)

Fronc is charming as always as Danceny and has been missed this past year at SHCC - he is always entertaining - and it is an absolute pleasure to see him back in a Disher production.

The supporting cast includes Susan Cincotta as Mme. de Rosemonde, our favorite Guild Hall Gal Barbara Jo Howard as Mme. de Volanges, Radio personality Bonnie Grice as Emilie, Charles Parshley as Azolan and Vincent Carbone as Major-domo. Great fun to see two of my favorite ladies, both Howard and Grice on stage, and as Bonnie so aptly put it - "Being in this play is just delectable and delicious." She shares two steamy scenes with Hendricks, and handles it all with "Grice" grace and panache. Howard is convincing as the mother of a potential young vixen and let's hope we see her again very soon on the floorboards of any East End stage.

King and Cincotta, as well as Carbone and Parshley are all entertaining and believable, and Klimiuk portrays a tortured young lady in love with chin up skill. This young lady has appeared in other Disher productions, and her versatility is always spot on.

As always, Disher delivers a professional and entertaining live theatre experience at SHCC. His concept of using the stage as a large chessboard with moveable pieces is simply inspiring, and he once again elicits wonderful performances from his actors. In the program, Disher offers a written discourse on "The Game of Love" which knowingly reveals his insight and forethought to tackling that most inexplicable emotion - love.

Special recognition must be given to the costumes and jewels donned by cast members - spectacular gems and beautiful gowns certainly helped to keep everyone's eyes front and center - cast members were as stunningly attired as they were cunningly clever in their roles.

The gentlemen of the cast with director Michael Disher (left) are dapper and dastardly.

The play enjoyed "successful British and Broadway runs that were followed by the film adaptation, "Dangerous Liaisons" (starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer) which earned seven Academy Award nominations. A subsequent film version, "Valmont," starred Colin Firth, Annette Bening and Meg Tilly."

General admission is $22 and student rate (under 21 with ID) is $12. Group rates are available and reservations are encouraged. For tickets, call the Southampton Cultural Center at 631-287-4377 or purchase tickets online.

For more information, click here.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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