Sometimes theatre throws you a curve ball. I know this might be hard to believe but Venus in Fur, threw me a giant curve ball. While taking in shows around town it is not odd for me to cry openly (Its my default theatre emotion), laugh out loud, or cheer like a crazy person if its appropriate to do so. It’s no secret I adore cabaret and burlesque, but I don’t think I have ever been more theatrically turned on, than I was sitting in the audience during Venus in Fur. It is hot, smart and ridiculously clever. David Ives has written a intricate, intimate story that demands your full attention with every single line. The whole experience is insatiable.
When we meet Thomas (Michael Tisdale) he is at a loss, sulking around the stage proclaiming that he will never find an actress talented enough to play Vanda. A lightning storm erupts outside, a great addition to any sultry story, and BANG! In whirls Vanda (Gillian Williams), a thunderously erratic siren that immediately gives Thomas exactly what he is looking for. For the next hour and fourty minutes these two dance a well choreographed figure 8 around one another, and collide with the intensity of the storm raging outside.
This show is built around two knockout performances, which this show delivers in spades, but it also requires a director smart as a whip who doesn’t neglect to give the show a tender touch. Everyone knows there should be as much emphasis on tenderness as there is on pain and shock… in a scene…of course… and Shana Cooper absolutely nails it. As does Williams and Tisdale. I could watch them spar, tit for tat, all day long.
At a glance, this show is about a brief, intense, life altering, sexual power-play. I implore you to see more. This is about pure, unadulterated intimacy, risky vulnerability, and messy consequences as a result of asking for exactly what you really want. Highly recommended for lovers of all kinds.