Venus In Fur: A Kinky Comedy

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October 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm  •  Posted in Theatre by  •  0 Comments

venus-in-fur 2I was jolted into my seat, literally, at the opening of Venus in Fur now playing at The Arts Club Theatre, Granville Island Stage.

A recent Broadway hit, Venus in Fur is the combination of a novella written by mid 19th c. writer Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, (who, by the way, had the term masochism derived from his name), and an intertwined modern story of a writer/director/masochist looking for his perfect actress/seductress/sadist.

The set is effective as a simple open room, with a chaise longue as the center piece. In combination with the dynamic lighting shifts, the set cleverly morphs from being a modern open audition warehouse, to a sexy 19th c. boudoir in Europe.

The piece is brilliantly written by David Ives.  Two characters coming together – seemingly unaware of what the other is after – and slowly unravelling the understanding that they are each what the other has been looking for all along.  As actors, being handed a script such as this is no easy feat to take on.  They are required to play two characters – each personality experiencing their own deep emotional transitions and journey. And on top of this, it is about S&M and D/s at a very primal level, the like of which many people have little to no personal experience. It is nothing short of extremely challenging.

I could see that the two talented actors, Lindsey Angell and Vincent Gale, did their best with the material, easily shifting in and out of the past and present characters they were required to play.  There were moments of spark and sensuous dynamics between Lindsey and Vincent as the characters surrender to deeper understandings, however there could have been – and needs to be – so much more. For me, the actors brush the surface of what these characters could really be emotionally and sexually experiencing.  With the dialogue and lush content in Venus in Fur, the audience should be on the edge of their seats sweating from the sensuality and erotic innuendos.

I am thrilled that the Arts Club decided to put on this play. It is meaty and full of incredible sexual undertones, taking us into a world of deep desire and love that we see very little of on Vancouver popular theatre stages.  Besides wanting the play to go to deeper levels, overall I did enjoy the performances, and the play is definitely one of the gutsiest and more revealing pieces I have seen in Vancouver lately.

• The Arts Club, Granville Island Stage
• Run closes Nov, 2nd, 2013
• Running time: Approx. 90 minutes, with no intermission
• http://artsclub.com/shows/2013-2014/venus-in-fur

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