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Review: DCTC’s “The Liar” a True Gem

A classic of Corneille, re-done by Ives, retells a plot with a focus on lies. Dorante is a hopeless lying cad, fooling his servant, ladies, and his dad. He duels with a friend and brags about winning while coaching his servant through troubles with twinning. Pentameter is used along with rhyme to tell the story of a man that’s timeless. Although the story is uniquely French and old, the modern twists deserve a mention. The script goes beyond old-fashioned verses and sometimes couplets end with curses.

The Liar By Ives a Modern Delight

HE SAID: DCTC’s first show is not to be missed as this classic French story has a funny modern twist. True it’s set in a period where people speak in verse, but you can’t deny the laughs this play is able to coerce. But this is not like other classical plays, as the script is chalk full of references to today. Characters curse and swear as they start to get bitter and I think I even heard a mention of Twitter. I could have misheard as things do move fast, but not to worry this is a great cast. Your brain and your ears may take time to adjust, but these are guides you truly can trust as they handle the language with seemingly great ease. It really was wonderful to watch their expertise.

SHE SAID: Right now I must agree with HIM, the entire performance was full of whim(sy). The complicated plot was fun to follow, Dorante’s lies growing more hard to swallow. He chases first a lady then her friend, displaying both the best and worst in men. The first, Clarice, is confident and bold, her friend Lucrece is clammier, seems cold. And Ives has made a novel choice: to give the mute Lucrece a voice. The audience observes each twist of plot knowing this liar sometime will be caught, but oddly interested in his plight. Cheering for him seems almost in the right. He weaves a web a challenge to untangle, but who resists a well-done love triangle?

The Verse Pleases Ears, Design Pleases Sight

HE SAID: Cortese stood out in a masterful way, probably because he had the most to say. As the main liar, his lines were verbose but he hit each beat and thought on the nose.  That said, much applause to Matt Zambrano’s Cliton – the servant hired by Dorante. That guy is funnier than you could want or dream of in any classic comic show. He’d step on stage and the laughter would grow. Thumbs up are due to Kerstin as the twins, whose double duty spawns comedic wins. Her natural timing was near flawless – as was the idea for her two-sided bodice.

SHE SAID: As always, I was impressed by design, the costumes were detailed, appropriate, divine. Their pagentry did seem to fit the theme, as lacy new lies were sewn with each scheme. The ruffles and lace by the great David Kay, though beautiful, might have been playing it safe. I wondered if classical garb was required- the play might fare well with more modern attire. So much was current, in words that Ives chose, that could have extended to the set and clothes.

Actors Perform With Skillful Finesse 

HE SAID: Interesting point you’ve raised, fair “She”, but the chosen details were perfect for me. The skirts, shirts, pants, and vests all seemed to suit the show’s purpose best. If the costumes were new the verse would seem odd. It’d be a modern play with a funny talking squad. With period garb and set design to boot, the verse seemed real and the modern humor acute.

SHE SAID: I see your point, my complaint I redact. What most sold the text? Ability to act! The skillful cast caused throngs of laughin’: Cortese, Serrales, Marrs and Kaplan. The actors spoke their lines with such perfection, ’twas clear they all received superb direction. Cortese deserves my fondest of “bravo”s, but my hat is off to Matt Zambrano. His impish charm was a constant delight, he was one of my favorites of the night. To cast such a gem was wise and prudent, I’d never have guessed that he’s still a student!

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The Liar is One Play You Won’t Want to Miss

THEY SAID: At first glance the language is hard to digest, but its bold execution makes it one of the best of modern renditions of classical works. The brilliant translation is one of the perks, another is how the ensemble shows well how much fun they have with their story to tell. We know you have options to see many shows, but anyone who has seen this offering knows that this talented cast makes quite a case: This one play you shouldn’t miss in The Space! The Liar is charming, cleverly shrewd: and MUCH better written than this review.

Theater He Said She SaidFor a full history and plot synopsis of the original play, The Liar, see the wikipedia article. The Liar plays through October 16 at the Space Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Click the banner above for tickets and more information.


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