Lantern's production of 'The Liar' is truly wonderful

Dave Johnson (left) and Aubie Merrylees are among the cast of the Lantern Theater Company's production of "The Liar."
Dave Johnson (left) and Aubie Merrylees are among the cast of the Lantern Theater Company's production of "The Liar." (MARK GARVIN)
Posted: November 09, 2012

Readers dear, my pen's on fire

To praise the charm of Lantern's Liar.

The cast is nimble, the cast is quick

For sheer amusement, this show's my pick.

Dueling and wooing and sorting out twins

Seventeenth-century silliness wins.

The Liar lies, and the ladies swoon

While witty language calls the tune.

With fabulations and fictions flying

Despite the obvious lure of lying

Steering you wrong would be uncouth

You'll enjoy this show, and that's the truth.

David Ives' translation and adaptation of Pierre Corneille's 17th-century French comedy is written in rhyming couplets of iambic pentameter, directed with great elan by Kathryn MacMillan, and performed with panache, brio, and all kinds of other foreign-sounding good stuff by a razzle-dazzle cast: Aubie Merrylees as the liar, Dorante, who falls in love with Clarice (Sarah Gliko) - or maybe it's actually her friend Lucrece (Emilie Krause) he's after.

But what of Clarice's reluctant fiancé (Jake Blouch)? Dorante's servant (Dave Johnson) finally takes lying lessons, while Dorante's father, the beleaguered Geronte (Peter Schmitz), copes with his son's shenanigans. As is usually the case in classic French comedy, the saucy maid is the tastiest role, and here there are not one but two maids, both played delectably by Emily Rogge, who has, suitably, two suitors (Matt Tallman).

The set, designed by Meghan Jones, creates locale after locale on Lantern's tiny stage at St. Stephen's Theater, enhanced by Shon Causer's nifty lighting (loved the chandelier!), and Maggie Baker's costumes are superb.

Ives has proved himself endlessly surprising, from the high seriousness of New Jerusalem to the goofy, clever merriment of All in the Timing. The Liar is yet another example of his wide range, but whatever Ives does, he does it with style and immense, if smartypants, intelligence.


The Liar

Presented by Lantern Theater Company at St. Stephen's Theater, 10th and Ludlow Streets, through Dec. 2. Tickets $30-$38. Information: 215-829-0395 or www.lanterntheater.org.

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