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Review: VENUS & THE VIXENS: GAMES OF LOVE at Emerald City Trapeze Arts

The things we do for love

By: Jun. 11, 2024
Review: VENUS & THE VIXENS: GAMES OF LOVE at Emerald City Trapeze Arts  Image
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Review: VENUS & THE VIXENS: GAMES OF LOVE at Emerald City Trapeze Arts  Image
Joel Domenico in Venus & the Vixens at 
Emerald City Trapeze Arts. Photo Credits: Ernie Sapiro 

We’ve all probably heard the story of Cupid and Psyche, a forbidden love that faces a greater-than-average amount of challenges, but in this day and age, is it really more than average? The new musical extravaganza, Venus & the Vixens: Games of Love, rockingly conceived, written, and directed by Martha Enson, and in collaboration with EnJoy Productions, is now playing at Emerald City Trapeze Arts.

Venus & the Vixens takes the audience on an Odyssey through the story of Psyche’s battle to win Cupid back after Venus, mother to Cupid, intervenes. The show is a  “joyous antidote to post-pandemic isolation and technology overload where Gods and Goddesses escort audience members on a theatrical journey culminating in an interactive Olympic Games of mythic proportions.”

Before the performance starts, audience members are greeted by a living museum-esque space with Gods masquerading as gamemasters. Upon entering the space, the audience is greeted by Dionysus yielding a “get to know your neighbor” type bingo card. We spend the first bit of the night playing games with the gods and mingling with our fellow non-gods - perhaps the best icebreakers I’ve ever experienced. 

The show stars Caela Bailey/Tori Spero (Venus, U/S Venus), Joel Domenico (Cupid), Shadae Simone (Psyche), and Kaleb Kerr, Alanna Francis, Chay Dixon, Patricia Charms, and Richard Peacock as Game Leads. We’re also lucky enough to have an amazing live band serenading us throughout the story. The band features Sari Breznau (Composer, Music Director, Band leader, Keyboard, and Horns, Vocals), Melissa Montalto (Keyboards, Vocals), Marina Christopher (Bass, Vocals), Teryn Kilgore (Guitar), Leah Thomas (Horns, Vocals), and Baylee Harper (Drums, Vocals).

This cast is packed with talent, from stellar vocal abilities to breathtaking dancing, there was always something to awe at. 

I happened to see the show on a night when Tori Spero, the understudy for Venus, took the stage. I feel very fortunate that this was the case, Spero's stage commandment felt integral to the story. She completely embodied the character and gave us countless audience interaction moments that deserved the endless laughter she received. Not to mention, her vocal abilities are out of this world. 

Speaking of vocal abilities, Joel Domenico’s performance as Cupid is not to be missed. With the voice of an angel (pun 100% intended) their Cupid is lustful, passionate, and beyond comprehension. I believe every ounce of love they have for Psyche. There is no shortage of ability with Domenico, and I’m excited to catch their next performance. 

Review: VENUS & THE VIXENS: GAMES OF LOVE at Emerald City Trapeze Arts  Image
Shadae Simone in Venus & the Vixens at 
Emerald City Trapeze Arts. Photo Credits: Ernie Sapiro 

Shadae Simone who plays Cupid’s love interest, Psyche, performed some of the most beautiful dancing I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Simone moves like water, on the ground, and in the air. As if it’s not impressive enough watching their talent, Simone is also the choreographer for the show. It’s clear they are a multi-talented powerhouse.

Props must go to the creative team of Venus & the Vixens. Every element of the show cohesively works together to create a night of pure entertainment. Costume Designer Jenny Penny did the perfect job at dressing our characters to aformentioned mythic proportions, decking the gods out in gorgeous gowns with eye-grabbing and rich colors. The designs made them feel larger than life. The space, jointly designed by Set Designer and Builder Hans Altweis of LCM Builders and Kaleo Quinzer, along with Stage Designer Thomas York, perfectly pedestals the Vixens while leaving enough room for the characters to play, dance, and fall in love. 

I cannot recommend Venus & the Vixens enough. Whether you attend with a group of friends, or decide to venture on the journey alone, I have no doubt that you’ll have a blast, and maybe even step outside of your comfort zone (for the better). It’s nice to remember how fun art can be, and this show won’t only help you remember, it’ll help you live it. 


Venus & the Vixens runs from now until June 16 at Emerald City Trapeze Arts. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.en-joyproductions.com/




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