Review by Greg Haymes
“Venus in Fur” is funny, sexy and whip-smart.
According to the October issue of American Theater magazine, David Ives’ “Venus in Fur” will be the most-performed play in American regional theaters in the 2013-14 season, with 22 productions across the country, more than any other play. And on the face of it, it’s easy to see why – economics. It requires only two actors and one simple stage set, a combination that’s music to the ears of any budget-conscious theater. And let’s face it, these days any theater company – big or small – is budget-conscious.
But on the other hand, those two actors have to be something truly extraordinary in order to navigate the complex, constantly shifting character transformations that the play demands. And they’ve got to command the audience’s attention by themselves for an hour and 45 minutes.
Fortunately, at Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill has found a pair of mesmerizing winners in blond bombshell Jenny Strassburg (making her Cap Rep debut) and veteran Timothy Deenihan (most recently seen on the Cap Rep stage in “Race”). Perfectly matched, they thrust and parry, using Ives’ words like rapiers in an exhilarating cat-and-mouse game.