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BWW Reviews: VENUS IN FUR at Salt Lake Acting Company Brilliantly Produced

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According to a survey published in American Theater magazine, "Venus in Fur" will be the most-performed play in American theaters this year.

It requires only two actors, one simple set, no elaborate costumes, and no special effects to speak of. But the reason the play will be so frequently produced run much deeper than easy staging.

"Venus in Fur" is an adventurous ride, seamlessly evolving from engaging comedy to riveting drama to compelling thriller; smoothly flows from a present-day New York office to a Florentine villa of the 1870s; and convincingly blurs the line between fantasy and reality.

Staged by the Salt Lake Acting Company, "Venus in Fur" is thrilling, provocative, and mesmerizing. Intelligently directed by Tracy Callahan. Superbly performed by two gifted young actors, Marza Warsinske and Patrick Kintz. A joy of discovery that theatergoers crave.

Warsinske plays Vanda Jordan, an air-headed, klutzy beginning actress. She's everything Thomas Novachek, the role played by Kintz, doesn't want for the play he's written and about to direct. Novachek has adapted "Venus in Furs," written by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. The classic erotic novel was published in 1870 and has female dominance and Sadomasochism as its themes.

The audition becomes an exhilarating cat-and-mouse game, with the two actors weaving in and out of performing dual characters. And that's all the plot details you'll learn from this review, because to disclose anything more would spoil the fun of the brilliant writing by David Ives. It's interesting to note that "Venus in Furs" is the fourth Ives play SLAC has produced, after "All in the Timing," "Mere Mortals," and "Polish Joke."

Warsinske and Kintz give mesmerizing performances, showing far more experience than their ages would indicate possible. (And hats off to SLAC for casting actors who match the ages of their characters.) Their effortless switches in temperament, accent, and gestures are remarkable.

Kintz is devoted to the character and gives a vivid, gripping performance. Warsinske is playful and forceful, and equally strong in the opposing modes. The audience is left to wonder at the play's conclusion what Ivers intended in the role Warsinske plays: Is her character a talented actress, a Machiavellian temptress, or the title character come to life?

Callahan adeptly guides the actors, and her skills include maintaining the play's tension while still promoting full comic release.


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