Like his better known La Ronde, Viennese playwright Arthur Schnitzler’s retitled fin-de-siècle Liebelei paints a picture of free sexuality and casual encounters but doesn’t shirk from showing the damage they can do.
On a slowly revolving raised set, student Theo entertains his latest conquest – Natalie Dormer’s overtly sensual Mizi, who knows the score and drunkenly grabs the moment.
The more romantic Christine is infatuated with their host, his wealthy best friend Fritz, despite his preoccupation with a married woman.
It’s a cruel depiction of a hedonistic “love ‘em and leave ‘em” mentality which can only work if all parties (including husbands!) concur and of rebellion against the restraint of the previous generation (personified by Hayley Carmichael’s disapproving neighbour), given a stylish if over-contrived production by Swiss director Luc Bondy.
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ tube Southwark / Waterloo (0207 922 2922) till 10th April (£22.50) under 26’s £10