Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Shattered Globe Theatre. You might call them The Libertine's outriders: two separate stagings, one before and one after the much-publicized Steppenwolf production, of the periwig-and-polonaise fable of good men undone by their bad-boy habits: Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' Les liaisons dangereuses.
The non-Equity Shattered Globe ensemble does remarkably well by its trendy material. Under the direction of Louis Contey, Linda Reiter gives the flinty Marquise de Merteuil a veneer of artifice just shallow enough to allow a glimpse of the sensitivities beneath. David Grieco looks too young to be wholly believable as her comrade in corruption, the Vicomte de Valmont, but he registers all the emotional changes with intelligence and finesse. And Mary Mares plays her thankless role as the virtuous Madame de Tourvel--the prey who finally reforms the predator--for its suppressed passion, preserving her character's dignity. Ann Kessler's costumes--ornate but never overdone, and always appropriate to the occasion--do almost as much to delineate character as their wearers. And Nick Sandys choreographs the final duel between Valmont and his young rival without ever losing sight of the psychological dynamic behind the swordplay. --Mary Shen Barnidge