Wild and Wacky “Liaisons”

epicFor the second year in a row, the fictional Boys of Saint Matthews are presenting their interpretation of a literary classic. Last year it was Tartuffe. This time they take on Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangerueses, otherwise known as Dangerous Liaisons.

The plot features enough wanton lust, deceit, seduction and betrayal to fill out a year’s worth of episodes of a daytime soap opera. Except in this production all the roles, male and female, are played by Catholic school boys.

The lothario Valmont (Matthew Gorgone) schemes with Merteuil (renamed Maya), and their plan is to seduce the Madame de Tourvel, and set up the innocent Cecile with Chevalier Danceny (renamed Danny).

If you are offended by rampant profanity and crude sexual innuendos, this isn’t the show for you.

Co-director Kevin Broccoli, who wrote the The Bedroom Plays, seems to have taken some of his inspiration from writer/director Ryan Murphy – creator of the television shows “American Horror Story” and “Glee.” The dialogue is snarky and there are lots of self-referential moments. “You are a vicious bitch,” is an example of a typical put-down. The material is presented very much tongue in cheek, as if the performers know how silly it all is.

The performances from the actors are all capable, but the star of the show was undoubtedly Michael Shallcross as Madame de Tourvel. Shallcross has appeared in supporting roles in several Epic Theatre productions, but has really come into his own here. His performance is a comic masterpiece. The way he moves across the stage, his physical mannerisms, his vocal inflections, all are mesmerizing. Shallcross knows how to play farce. This is a real talent who I look forward to seeing again.

If you want some laughs on a hot summer night, then you will enjoy Les Liaisons Dangerueses.

The Boys of St. Matthew‘s Presents Les Liaisones Dangereuses runs Friday and Saturday nights from August 5 – 20 at Mixed Magic Theatre, 560 Mineral Spring Ave. Pawtucket. Run time is 70 minutes. Tickets available on Mixed Magic’s website at mmtri.com

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