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Paper Lantern stages tale of cruel seduction as groundbreaking filmic theatre

PUBLISHED: 17:30 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:07 23 September 2019

Liam Gregory as the Vicomte de Valmont and Molly Scurrell as Madame Tourvel in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses  Photo: Darren Beattie

Liam Gregory as the Vicomte de Valmont and Molly Scurrell as Madame Tourvel in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses Photo: Darren Beattie

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Theatre has always found ways to keep itself fresh and exciting. Now Paper Lantern theatre company is pioneering filmic theatre mixing traditional stagecraft with audio and dynamic visuals

Rosie Beattie and Liam Gregory as The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont  in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses  Photo: Darren BeattieRosie Beattie and Liam Gregory as The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses Photo: Darren Beattie

Fancy a bit of 'filmic theatre'? Then Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Paper Lantern Theatre Company could be just the evening's entertainment you are looking for.

Founded by artistic director Sally Broatch, Paper Lantern specialises in an all-embracing sound and vision style of performance which Sally calls 'filmic theatre'. "We have pioneered a presentation style where we aim to create innovative staging, sets and soundscapes for both classical and contemporary plays."

In last few years the company has staged such diverse works as A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller's The Crucible, The Graduate by Terry Johnson and, more recently, Noel Coward's first play The Vortex.

Liam Gregory and Kev Harmer in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses  Photo: Darren BeattieLiam Gregory and Kev Harmer in Paper Lantern's production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses Photo: Darren Beattie

Now the ambitious company is tackling the challenging sexual drama Les Liaisons Dangereuses which was filmed as Dangerous Liaisons starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Sally said: "Set in a decadent age just before the French Revolution, the play deliciously documents the cruel games and manipulation of a bored aristocracy."

The central characters, The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two narcissistic rivals (and ex-lovers) use seduction as a vengeful weapon to socially control and exploit others. While these ruthless aristocrats toy with others' hearts and reputations, their own may prove more fragile than they supposed.

Sally adds: 'This is a rich and powerful text that we have wanted to do for a long time. We had to wait three years for the rights to become available. The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons Dangereuses one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature.

"The play delivers every ounce of this and so much more. With a phenomenal cast bringing these characters to life, we are very excited to bring this to Ipswich. One trademark trait of our previous productions is our use of both music and costume/set design and again these will be richly explored in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

"We have composed an original score with underlying contemporary references which will be unexpected to our audiences. This is more than just a play. As a company, we are highly influenced by film and as such, have invested a lot of time in developing creative staging, exploring transitions in an imaginative way to give a rich underlying subtext as well as a tangible feel for the era. The audience are promised a real treat."

The play features many experienced Paper Lantern cast members including Liam Gregory, who played Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire and John Proctor in The Crucible as the Lothario, Vicomte de Valmont.

Other notable cast members include: Rosie Beattie as The Marquise de Merteuil. Rosie has previously appeared as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Mrs Robinson in The Graduate, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible. Molly Scurrell, who played Stella in Streetcar and Bunty Mainwaring in The Vortex, will be playing the virtuous victim, Madame Tourvel.

Additional cast members include Charlotte Curtis as Madame Volanges and Issy Alway, Kev Harmer, Alice Pescott Frost, Jordan Silver, Becky Linge, Max Riches and Angela Rankin in supporting roles.

Christopher Hampton's classic tale of cruel seduction, 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses', based on the scandalous French epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, is staged by Paper Lantern Theatre Company and runs at the Sir John Mills Theatre, Ipswich from October 2-12. It transfers to the Headgate theatre in Colchester in February 2020.

Tickets for the Ipswich performances can be booked at Eastern Angles box office 01473 211498 or online www.easternangles.co.uk

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