Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Gate Theatre

Putting on a modern stage adaptation of an eighteenth-century novel, also made into a film, is high-risk strategy, made more intense by the epistolary style of Choderlos Laclos’ original, an approach to fiction made famous by the English novelist, Samuel Richardson. He gets a credit line in the text. The story, built around secondary emotions, adds to the difficulty of winning over an audience. The events are neither nice nor wholesome. The ending is bitter; there is no natural hubris or nemesis, nor does eroticicism arise from love or lead to it. The characters are either foolish or vicious. They lack depth and humour. Though Christopher Hampton’s play is accomplished and skilful, quite a lot is lacking. Read More...