Going in blind to a performance is a risk that many don’t take. The synopsis sheds insight, the character profiles provide background and leaving them behind can be the difference between buying tickets and walking out early.
Take a seat at Eternity Playhouse, ditch the synopsis for Venus in Fur and let the drama take you.
Venus in Fur sheds light on the world of S&M, but underneath the layers of lingerie and fishnet stockings sits an incredibly clever performance drawing connections between fetishism and desire to the psychological being.
Gareth Reeves (playing Thomas) and Anna Houston (as Wanda) star in Venus in Fur, each delving into the character’s desires and exposing their inner psyche. Thomas is a director searching for a strong female lead to play Venus in a play. The actress who arrives is a mess with a strong southern accent, who when in character is the perfect portrayal of the character in the play - Vanda, a.k.a. Venus.
Their embodiment of the characters is so strong that they lead the audience to believe the play is going to walk the line of sex and desire and leave it at that. Further along in the play, they remind us that the fetish for fur is deeply entrenched in psychosis.
One of the play's strongest features is the play-within-a-play dynamic, where the actors jump from the play we are seeing, to the one they are reading. As they jump from play to play, the audience jump with them, until the lines become so blurry it is hard to see where the script stops and the play begins.
Venus is the Roman Goddess of love and sexuality, a muse from the first storytellers who is made mortal in this performance. Venus is the power that rules Thomas and is the goddess who inspires Vonda. As one of the characters so adeptly puts it, “There is something more powerful out there and it can run or ruin us”.
A moment in Thomas’ childhood with his fur-clad Aunt leaves him broken and craving more. Vanda is an enigma, not to be trusted or ignored - she is the fur to his fetish and the submission to his power. Or perhaps she is the power to his submission; the questions remain unanswered until the last moments of the play.
The power of sexual desire runs them, masters them and leaves them begging for more.
With chills running down your spine, Venus in Fur will leave you overwhelmed and intrigued, inspiring discussion and reaching for a stiff drink.
Venus in Fur is on at Eternity Playhouse until July 5. Visit the Sydney Scoop Calendar for performance times.