Is there a better wordsmith in the theater than David Ives (“Venus in Fur”)? Not in my opinion. For a perfect example of this genius at at his best, head on down to Classic Stage Company and feast on “The Liar.” Ives has taken the rarely (never?) produced 17th-century play “Le Menteur” by Pierre Corneille, translated it, adapted it, and then — ready for this? — written it entirely in rhyming couplets. And what rhymes! The result is a hilarious two hours of soaking up nonstop convolutions of a plot that’s about…well, the plot matters not (two pairs of twins, mistaken identity, and, of course, continuous lying). After all, it’s a 400-year-old French farce. Everyone in the eight-person ensemble is spot on in delivering the rapid-fire couplets and the broadly comedic acting.
A further note on David Ives. He’s now engaged in an exciting new project — writing the book for a new Stephen Sondheim musical. Ives’ challenge? Creating the book from two Luis Buñuel films. How hard can that be?
The Classic Stage theater is small, fewer than 200 seats. The run is short, closing Feb. 26. And the reviews have been highly enthusiastic, Times and New York Magazine. So be forewarned. Classic Stage, 136 E. 13th St.