Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 19, 2011

The Game

Barrington Stage Company, Pittsfield, MA
through August 28, 2011
by Walter A. Haggerty

“The Game” is the not-to-be-missed event of the year. “The Game” is not just one more light summer musical. It is pure theatre magic in every way. It is in a word –  sensational!

Based on an 18th Century novel, “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” the story follows the scandalous misadventures of a fascinating assemblage of French aristocrats. It relates the sometimes amusing, but ultimately tragic outcome of their “game” when one woman’s manipulative actions unleash a tidal wave of events that result in devastating consequences.

The score is magnificent. The music by Megan Cavallari is varied and richly melodic. The book and lyrics by Amy Powers and David Topchick, traverse a game of subtle intrigue, moving from light and frothy early moments to deeply moving, even tragic results.

Director Julianne Boyd has guided her fantastic company through their dangerous games making every move precisely the right one for each occasion, heightening the audience involvement and sympathies.

Credit: Kevin Sprauge
Rachel York is giving the performance of a lifetime with flashing smiles and eyes that could strike lightening into the heart of any adversary. From seductive teasing to vengeful manipulation, she is outstanding. As Vicomte de Valmont, Graham Rowat ranges from an amusing cad to consummate villain without missing a beat. Amy Decker’s shattering performance of her “My Sin” aria is a moment that will surely remain engraved in the memories of every member of the audience. Joy Franz as Madame De Rosemonde is a delight in the amusing repartee of Act I, but reveals a distinctly chillier side in Act II. Chris Peluso and Sarah Stevens as the young lovers are perfection, as is Christianne Tisdale as Madame de Volanges.

The opulent costumes of Jennifer Moeller, together with the sumptuous scenic design of Michael Anania, give “The Game” a level of elegance rarely, if ever, matched in a summer theatre production. In short “The Game” is marvelous on all counts and should not be missed by anyone who appreciates great theatre.