Photo by Don Kellogg

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Venus in Fur

An intellectual, interesting, and engaging play, Venus in Fur, by David Ives is now playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre at the Manhattan Theatre Club.   Featured just last season at the Classic Stage Company off-Broadway, MTC saw the potential and ushered this tension -filled twosome uptown without delay.

Staring that sexy Broadway vixen Nina Arianda and the uber-handsome Hugh Dancy - it's hard to imagine a better matched duo for this one.  Packed and dripping with sexual tension, desire, and mystery, Vanda and Thomas take us seamlessly back and forth between modern day rehearsal room and a 19th century aristocratic setting.  Genius in its construction, Mr. Ives endows the two characters with modern problems offset by deep secret desires and great talent.  He juxtaposes time, gender, and desire.  The actors are virtually perfect for the roles - mirroring the traits of the characters flawlessly.  You can't wait to hear what Vanda say or do next.  You quiver waiting for Thomas to submit to his obvious desires.

I did not see this play downtown at the Classic Stage Company, but after seeing it now in a modestly larger house I think I would have enjoyed it even more in an intimate space.  However, I make special note of John Lee Beatty's box-like set that significantly diminishes the cavernous stage at the Friedman to a more intimate size.   And of course, there's that signature Walter Bobbie directorial crispness to the pace and sharpness to the dialogue that both keep tension high and the momentum driving forward.

Cracking thunder and bursts of lighting accentuate what is already a wild and sexy storm of great theatre.  Don't miss this chance to succumb to your theatrical desires.