BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's VENUS IN FUR - In a Word, Delicious

BWW Reviews: Seattle Rep's VENUS IN FUR - In a Word, Delicious
Michael Tisdale and Gillian Williams in
Seattle Repertory Theatres Venus in Fur.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion.

Get yourself ready for something naughty, witty and all around fun as the Seattle Rep has brought to town David Ives' battle of wills and words, "Venus in Fur". This ribald evening from two powerhouse performers is rife with Ives' typical meaty dialog will keep you guessing as to who's really in charge.

Thomas (Michael Tisdale) is a playwright and director of his new piece, "Venus in Fur" based on the novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (who's name inspired the term masochism). Thomas has just spent the day auditioning women for the lead role of Vanda and none of them even come close to the power and gravitas he wants for the role. Just as he's about to leave, in storms Vanda (Gillian Williams), a brash and outrageous actress who happens to have the same name as the character in his play. Her outspoken and modern sensibilities seem all wrong for the part but she bullies her way into auditioning for him and what follows is a delectable game of cat and mouse as the two go from going over a few pages to going over the entire play (and more). But just who is the cat and who is the mouse here? Tables are continually turned and the balance of power shifted as the heat and intensity of these two builds and builds until finally they... well, you'll have to see the play to find that out. But what I can tell you is Ives and director Shana Cooper have crafted a wickedly fun tennis match of words with a pace that teases and abuses the audience like a highly skilled dominatrix leaving us begging for more.

Tisdale and Williams are superb in the roles. Each one passing back and forth the baton of power throughout the show in such a way that we never really see it passed. Williams manages to slip in and out of modern day Vanda to Victorian Vanda (and beyond) seamlessly and has the audience in the palm of her hand (along with Thomas) from the word "go". And Tisdale's transformation from the author who knows what he wants to the man-toy who's not even sure how he got there is stunning.

I really don't want to say much more lest I give some things away but I can say that you're bound (pun intended) to have a ton of fun in the show. And for those looking for a racy evening out with your significant other (maybe even for V-day) then this show is bound (there's that pun again) to get your engines revving. And with my three letter rating system I give "Venus in Fur" a solid YAY with a little Mmhmm on the side.

"Venus in Fur" performs at the Seattle Rep through March 9th. For tickets or information contact the Seattle Rep box office at 206-443-2222 or visit them online at

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Jay Irwin Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years. He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting works.

Instituting a new three letter rating system for my reviews for 2014. They'll range from best to worst as WOW (A can’t miss), YAY (Too damn good), MEH+ (Good, with some great things going for it), MEH (Just OK), NAH (You can miss this one) and WTF (I think you can figure out my complex code there).

Jay is also an actor in the local Seattle scene. Follow me on Twitter @SeattleBdwyGeek

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