THEATER: “Venus in Fur” @ Capital Repertory Theatre

October 3rd, 2013, 12:00 pm by Greg
Thomas (Timothy Deenihan) & Vanda (Jenny Strassburg) in Venus in Fur

Thomas (Timothy Deenihan) & Vanda (Jenny Strassburg) in “Venus in Fur”

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.

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David Ive’s “Venus in Fur” – A Sex Comedy about S&M at Capital Rep [Berkshire on Stage]

September 25th, 2013, 1:00 pm by Sara
Thomas (Timothy Deenihan) and Vanda (Jenny Strassburg) in Venus in Fur, playing September 27- October 20 at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Thomas (Timothy Deenihan) and Vanda (Jenny Strassburg) in “Venus in Fur,” playing September 27-October 20 at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany.

by Larry Murray

You could say that the play Venus in Fur is a sexy little romp. It is. But it is also more than that. It takes sex into S&M territory.

David Ives’ Venus in Fur is, at heart, a titillating comedy that illuminates one aspect of sexual desire, exploring aspects of S&M. Plays of this genre are not a frequent offering in live theatre and so there is little to measure it against. When you check, you can find S&M overtones in works such as Marat/Sade, Quills and Spring Awakening. These sorts of plays have one thing in common – the ability to outrage some, and delight others. Most likely one’s reaction will depend on their world view.

In The New York Times, Charles Isherwood observed: ”To describe Mr. Ives’s play as a sex comedy may conjure images of creaky old farces involving philandering bosses and naughty secretaries. But while it’s as funny as any play currently on Broadway, “Venus in Fur” is also something darker, stranger and altogether more delicious.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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