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Les Liaisons Dangereuses

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As directed by Michael Colucci, this production constitutes a kind of masterpiece of almost goodness. A chef d'oeuvre of near misses. There are loads of smart choices taken one step too far, rafts of potentially delicious moments marred by clumsy or amateurish execution. The worst problem, though, is a clutch of wan performances. Based on the much adapted 18th-century epistolary novel, Christopher Hampton's shrewd play chronicles the process by which a couple of French aristocrats sink from mere hedonism to a spiritual depravity that destroys them as well as their victim/lovers. Too many of Colucci's cast either confuse sophistication with vacancy or virtue with bloodlessness. They drain off the passion--and without that, little their characters do makes sense. --Tony Adler a Through 8/5: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Sun 8/5, 3 and 7 PM, no show Sun 7/8, Actors Workshop Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, 773-728-7529, $20-$25, industry shows through Sun 7/29.

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