Review: Dangerous Liaisons, Brisbane Powerhouse 03-05 Feb
I remember vividly my first introduction to John Malkovich in the Stephen Frears film ‘Dangerous Liaisons’. If someone told me in 1988 that in 2016 at a Queer Arts Festival, the role of Valmont would be played by a woman and would equal Malkovich’s portrayal by a virtual unknown actor called Janine Watson, who is bare chested in her own gender bent translation, I would have never believed them.
Playing at Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Melt Festival is the Little Ones Theatre production of Christopher Hampton’s play ‘Dangerous Liaisons’.
‘We only feel compelled to chase the ones who run away’
I’d like to call this production the ‘Ferrero Rocher’ of theatre, it’s rich in texture with a spherical gold exterior, and it looks like a magazine spread for Rolling Stones. It has the best ‘make out’ sound track EVER brought to the stage by Daniel Nixon and Russell Goldsmith, I just wanted to race home, spotify every song and get off!
Stephen Nicolazzo is a director to thank for a great night out; his contemporary interpretation is on trend with the Clandestine Theatre movement, when women performed in entire female casts of plays to ‘titillate’ audiences into homoerotic submission. This production proudly reverbs pantomime, in it’s pre intentions but it resonates desperate sexuality that only Madonna could once Vogue in eighteenth century costume, here even she is beaten down in a sea of fuchsia costumes by ingenious designers Eugyeene Teh and Tessa Pitt.
I wasn’t as fussed about the lighting as much as I was about Alex Aldrich who plays Marquise de Mertuil, she is a dead ringer for Lady Gaga, her ability to hold it together and camp it up impressed my inner gay. There are stellar performances by Zoe Boesen, Tom Dent, Anna McCarthy and the cute Amanda McGregor. I just wanted to turn for Catherine Davis, a seductress who could make any man (gay or straight) cry. But it was Brigid Gallacher who annoyed the fuck out of me, until I realised she was playing the puritan so well and then I was reminded why I hated her, because all gays hate puritans!
Once again, if you haven’t booked your place to see Dangerous Liaisons play I suggest you sleep with whoever you can to reserve a seat for the best chocolate binge on theatre, it’s a strap on ride of girl power in period tragic satire, it’s classic and it’s queer as hell.