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‘The Liar’ review: 17th century facts and their alternates

Kelly Hutchinson and Carson Elrod in

Kelly Hutchinson and Carson Elrod in "The Liar," David Ives' spin on Corneille's 17th century farce. Credit: Richard Termine

WHAT “The Liar”

WHERE Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St.

INFO $60-$65; 212-352-3101; classicstage.org

BOTTOM LINE Breezy, good-natured 17th century rethinking.

David Ives, Stephen Sondheim’s collaborator on a new musical and author of the seductively manipulative “Venus in Fur,” also has a singular fascination with classic French plays. He is back in familiar territory, the Classic Stage Theater, with his breezy, good-natured translation of Pierre Corneille’s mid-17th century comedy, “The Liar.”

More accurately, he calls this a translaptation, a loose spin through a work by a master best known for his tragedies. Amiably directed and cast by Michael Kahn, the verse play involves confusion about women named Clarice and Lucrece and their amorous, swashbuckling young men. At the center are Dorante (Christian Conn), who cannot tell the truth, and his servant Clinton (the deft Carson Elrod) who cannot tell a lie. And just when the rhyming anachronisms get really self-conscious and tiresome, the two-hour frolic is over.

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