The situation in The School for Lies (the intellectual and romantic interplay among a set of 17th century French aristocrats) and the characters (the haughty Alceste who is disdainful of everyone he meets, the flirtatious widow Celimene who is desired by every man she meets, the bitchy scandalmonger Arsinoe, who can’t wait to gossip about everything she hears) remain the same as in the original.
Anachronisms can often clang the ear but these are so laugh-out-loud witty that I wish someone would do an original cast recording so that I could just hear the lines over and over again. The Backstage critic David Sheward was so inspired that he wrote his entire review in couplets (click here to read it).
I last saw Linklater as Bassanio in the Public Theater production of The Merchant of Venice that played in the park last summer and thought he was wrong for that part but his puppy-dog quality works here and he’s thoroughly charming as Frank.
William Ivey Long’s costumes, particularly the women’s puff-pastry gowns, are magnificent (click here to see a video in which he discusses how he came up with the designs). And Peter Kaczowrowksi’s lighting makes all of it sparkle like a glass of good champagne.
The School for Lies isn’t in that league but it’s a delightful mash-up that any true theater lover should make time to see.