Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the ultimate sex-as-power play, opened at Broadway’s Booth Theatre on Sunday night with crackling-hot performance by leads Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer. Playing the Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil, the veteran stage actors, who play former lovers, engage in furious battle of sexual conquest that’s notable for its complete amorality and ruthlessness. Directed but Josie Roarke, this strong production goes for a straight interpretation of the play, which is based on the epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

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Les Liaisons Dangereuses first came to Broadway in 1997 in a Royal Shakespeare Company production starring Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan. And, of course, it’s hard to forget the memorable performances of Glenn Close and John Malkovich in the 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons. Schreiber and McTeer work admirably to fill those very large shoes delivering the play’s clever bon mots with relish. Though set in another time of French aristocrats, the play seems very current today where sexual politics is so much in the news. Given the current debate about unwanted “groping” and “sexting,” the Vicomte and Marquise might have a thing or two to teach Messieurs Trump and Weiner.

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