BWW Reviews: Curious Theatre Presents a Dynamic Duo in a Kinky Mind F@ck in VENUS IN FUR
Curious Theatre Company presents David Ives's award winning play, VENUS IN FUR playing now through June 14th. In this darkly seductive tale, a sexy and mysterious actress shows up hours late for an audition, knowing she may have blown her chances at the role of a lifetime. But as she slowly turns the encounter into an electrifying game, the stakes become elevated, erotic - and dangerous.
"The Lord Hath Smitten Him and Delivered Him into a Womans Hand."
"No Guts, No Story" - Never has Curious Theatre lived up to their mantra more than in this kinky, intellectual oddity that has more power shifts and sensuous twists than an episode of Game of Thrones! This show featured sado-masochism true to form and while the known symbols of chain link and leather and lace seduced the audience; it was the multi layered power struggle of the dominant and submissive that compelled us to watch and enjoy this complex drama..
Karen Slack was an atomic ball of energy as the goofy and mysterious auditioner, Vanda. Her quirkiness drew the audience in, but it was this gifted actresses layering and gradual transformation of this complex character (or characters) that made her performance truly remarkable. Karen Slack has made me laugh and cry in so many of her memorable roles, but this was elevated her craft to a whole new level. Brett Aune was a worthy counterpart to play opposite Karen as the director and screenwriter, Thomas. He was able to play off her quite well while giving his own character such tormented dimension.
Lets face it, this show is bizarre, but director Chip Walton handled it with finesse and wisely cast two strong individuals to take on these complicated roles and build on that driving lusty chemistry. I found their play for dominance quite fascinating as though they were in a seductive tennis match for dominance. The show flowed as smooth as latex, and the blocking was effective in driving the sexual innuendo and lusty chemistry. The only thing I would have changed would be to have Thomas shirtless at the dramatic end (I believe the appropriate phrase I am thinking of is "Skin to Win"). I also appreciated him utilizing his design team to their utmost to really showcase that kinky underground element. As smoke greeted us as we entered, I knew I was in for a good time. This set was another feather in Michael Duran's cap giving all the appearances of a dilapidated industrial warehouse. I appreciated his attention to detail by adding the chain link hanging from the rafters and the industrial fan that was almost hypnotic. Shannon McKinney did a great job of lighting the fan making for some nice shadow play on the set. I also adored her use of soft lighting to contrast between fantasy and reality. The sound by designer Jason Ducat featured a soundtrack of gothic and ambient electronica music that matched the show perfectly. Another excellent feature of the show were Vanda's costumes by designer Kevin Brainerd that gave us leather, lace, stockings with garters and just enough revealing skin.
Be sure to see this intriguing thinker of a play and enjoy the seductive cat and mouse game that ensues...just remember your safe word! VENUS IN FUR is titillating audiences now through June 14th. For tickets or more information contact the box office by calling 303-623-0524 or online at www.curioustheatre.org.
PICTURED ABOVE: Karen Slack as Vanda
PICTURE CREDIT: Curious Theatre Company
Karen Slack as Vanda