The current show at URI is Christopher Hampton's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" based on the 1782 novel by Choderlos de Laclos. The show charts the seduction of the young and willing Cecile and the demure, yet passionate Mme. de Tourvel by Le Vicomte de Valmont, a cynical pleasure-seeker. His seductive enterprises are encouraged and manipulated by his former mistress, a woman with ulterior motives. Set in France among aristocrats before the revolution, the play is disturbing, wicked and perversely cynical in its game of lust, seduction and betrayal, played out in the parlors and boudoirs in the 18th century. The show is directed by Alan Hawkridge who keeps the 18 scene set changes moving quickly but it is the costumes by David Howard that will take your breath away especially the gorgeous brocade gowns and the men's outfits, too.
Kyle Maddock is outstanding and astounding as Valmont, the arrogant cad. He appears in 17 out of 18 of the scenes and delivers his enormous amount of dialogue perfectly in all his scenes, interacting beautifully with the whole cast. Kyle captures the essence of this aristocrat who abuses women but is secretly controlled by a devious and duplicitous bitch played by Jaclyn Marfuggi. The sword fight scene is wonderfully performed and brings much needed action to the show. Kyle is a talented senior who will be playing Peter in "Diary of Anne Frank" in April. The evilness of Jaclyn's character, La Marquise, comes dripping through in her scenes. She is so evil that you wished she would get her comeuppance at the close of the show but the author uses satiric irony to let her escape her well deserved punishment.
Jenette Delmonaco plays the young and innocent, Cecile wonderfully. She is forced to have sex with Valmont and in a comic twist we find out she enjoys it. Tiffany Page is Valmont's other victim. She captures her character's loathing of Valmont's behavior at first but eventually succumbs to his charms. Their most powerful scene is the argument when Valmont leaves her. Joe Short has some humorous scenes as Valmont's valet while Kara Hoyer has a couple of funny scenes with Kyle especially the bed scene where he writes a letter on her back. Brad Kirton brings life to his role of Danceny who wants to marry Cecile. He is a naive young man who La Marquise wants revenge upon for having jilted her. Heather Garfinkle plays Cecile's mother while Patricia Hawkridge plays Valmont's aunt. So for those of you who want to take a look back at 18th century France and are afficionados of verbal repartee, mixed in with intrigue and sophistication be sure to catch "Les Liaisons Dangereuses".