Sophisticated and seductive

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FROM Broadway to the West End, Venus In Fur has been dominating stages around the globe since its premiere in 2010.

Next week, Southland audiences will have the opportunity to see the play which has attracted actors such as Natalie Dormer Game of Thrones), Wes Bentley American Beauty) and Hugh Dancy (Hannibal).

Presented by Repertory Invercargill during this year’s Southland Arts Festival, Venus In Furis described as a seductive, darkly funny, erotic story centered around an obsessive relationship between a man and the mistress who enslaves him.

The play was adapted by David Ives from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel Venus in Furs, which was published in 1870, and is set in modern-day New York City.

Along with being engaging and funny, the play was also quite serious in a lot of places, director Gussie Johnson said.

“It is very timely, and I think wherever it’s been shown it’s been extremely popular.”

With the show set to open next Wednesday, Johnson said they were now on the home straight. Rehearsals were going well, and the set was beautifully done, she said.

A play within a play, it features two characters a writer/director who is adapting the novel, and Vanda, who is auditioning for a role.

“It’s the play itself that David Ives has written that makes it so interesting.

“You wonder just who the lady is in the finish. She leaves quite a puzzle, because you don’t know where she’s come from or anything else. She has reduced this man to his knees.”

Callum Fowler Photo: Brogan Campbell

Venus In Fur features two actors who will be familiar faces to Southland theatre-goers Maggie Watts and Callum Fowler, who recently appeared on stage together in Repertory Invercargill’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Johnson said because of the nature of the play, the two actors had to have complete trust in each other.

Johnson said she thought the public of Invercargill would appreciate the clever dialogue, and references to things such as Greek mythology.

“David Ives has done a very good job of this. I think it will go down in history as a classic.”

She encouraged people to take the opportunity to see the play during the festival.

“Come along and see what local talent can do, I think, with a sophisticated story – one that’s up to the minute.

“[It] has been shown in centres and towns and cities like New York and really appreciated. People have gone back several times to see it.”

Venus In Fur, Repertory House, cnr Jed and Esk Sts, Wednesday, April 24, to Saturday, April 27, 7.30pm. Book through TicketDirect. Please note the show is R18 themes.

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