Play review: Venus in Fur
Auckland Theatre Company’s newest theatre production.
Morgana O’Reilly explodes on to the stage of Venus in Fur in an outburst of expletives.
She has turned up late, in a storm, for an audition for the part of Vanda, who fortuitously shares her name.
The set is an audition room, with bare wooden floors, a table, a chaise lounge and windows streaming with rain for the duration of the play.
As she auditions for the part of a shiftless, rich woman who will play dominatrix to amixed-up Severin in a play based on 1870 novel, the references to gothic novels of that period abound.
The novel that inspired US playwright David Ives to pen the play was Venus in Pelz by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.
The book was based on SacherMasoch’s own submissive erotic entanglement and inspired the term‘‘masochism’’.
What ensued was Ives’ 2010 play within a play, subsequently turned into a film by Roman Polanski in 2012.
There are only two characters in the story – director and actor, man and woman, and Venus in Fur explores the changing dynamics of power between the two.
With a pale face, strong makeup, ruby lips and plum hair, O’Reilly put on amesmerising performance.
The audience, of all ages, was transfixed through out and at the end there was a resounding ovation with many standing to show their appreciation.
Auckland Theatre Company’s Venus in Fur is a provocative, sexy, funny and intelligent production.
Prepare to submit to an intellectual treat.
Venus in Furs, Auckland Theatre Company, to September 18 at the Herald Theatre, Auckland