"Stylish, intelligent and funny... Sex has never been a big commodity at Stratford, but that situation definitely changed on Thursday night when Dangerous Liaisons opened at the Festival Theatre... Ethan McSweeny's production of this slice of late 18th century French sensual intrigue is not only impeccably stylish, acerbically intelligent and mordantly funny, but it packs a truly erotic kick that is very welcome indeed."
"Technically, the show is Stratford at its best. Santo Loquasto creates a chilling world of metallic elegance, which respects the original period, but still gives everything a soulless modern edge. His costumes make everyone look eminently seduceable and the lighting of Robert Thomson knows when to blast us with cold white light, or dazzle us with rock 'n' roll primary colours... McSweeny, for someone who has never directed on the Festival stage before, shows an astonishing command of how to make that mystic space work. His direction is clear, precise, pointed, always showing us what we need to see, or — in the case of his detailed scene changes that involve the servants — showing us things we never expected to see as well. This is world-class theatre and we should be thrilled to have it on our doorstep." — Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star
"Deliciously engaging... to say the festival season goes out with a luxurious and seductive bang is an understatement. And it's all deliciously depraved enjoyment for cast and audience alike."
"Directed by Ethan McSweeny in an impressive Stratford debut, [Dangerous Liaisons] assembles some of the festival's stars in Seana McKenna, Tom McCamus and Martha Henry... witnessing McKenna and McCamus verbally joust on stage brings the script to life before our very eyes — language transformed into action, literature transformed into life in all its sordid glory."
"McSweeny adds a touch of contemporary musical theatre flair with refrains from a harpsichord giving way to driving electric guitar riffs — it works in marvelously jarring way... the juxtaposition of 18th century opulence and modern theatrical artifice is [further] achieved through the contrast between a magnificent crystal chandelier, complete with real candles, and banks of stage lights and a monumental stainless steel door as a backdrop. The production is not only stylish, thanks in large part to designer Santo Loquasto, but is one of the most unabashedly sexy productions ever staged at Stratford." — Robert Reid, The Record
"Dangerously irresistible... In an impressive Stratford debut, director Ethan McSweeny stages these wicked games on a chessboard set designed by Santo Loquasto. In between the scenes, he's choreographed what seems like a whole second shadow play between the various maids and servants who roll the sets on and off. It shows who's really in charge — soon, it'll be the ancient regime's heads they'll be rolling off. The scene changes take place to a soundtrack of harpsichord mixed with squealing electric guitar and are lit by Robert Thomson like a rock concert, linking this sexually licentious world to the decadence of more recent decades. As the tightly wound Tourvel, Topham loosens her corseted conscience only inch by inch — and the slow seduction only makes it all the hotter. It’s indeed impressive that she stays upright as long as she does, because she and McCamus have some truly sensational chemistry... Michael Therriault gets the second biggest laughs of the night as an inexperienced suitor, sheepishly caught with his pants down. The biggest one goes to Martha Henry as Valmont's eccentric older aunt sharing her hairstyle and a communion wafer with her lapdog." — J Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail
"Five-star Liaisons... Impressively directed by Ethan McSweeny and lavishly designed by Santo Loquasto, this is a compelling production [with] impressive performances throughout from a blue-blooded supporting cast — the venerable Martha Henry, the always impressive Yanna McIntosh and the evergreen Michael Therriault joining Jillard and Topham in an all but flawless ensemble — it belongs, in the end, to McCamus and McKenna... And well it should, for rarely have these two worked better, either separately or as a team." — John Coulborn, The Toronto Sun
"Sexual evil stalks Stratford stage... This final production of Stratford's 2010 season is also one of its best... director Ethan McSweeny has seen the exciting possibilities of the Festival Theatre's famous thrust stage for exploiting the hothouse intimacy of the play and of drawing the audience into its embrace... McSweeny, obviously excited by this space, makes outstanding use of it in mounting his exquisitely detailed dissection of the manners, mores and monstrousness of a culture soon to be felled by the revolution." — Jaimie Portman, The Vancouver Sun