Play re­view: Venus in Fur

Auck­land The­atre Com­pany’s new­est the­atre pro­duc­tion.

Central Leader - - MILESTONES -

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

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