[NOTE: This review was written in November 2020, as part of my 2010-2019 decade-in-review post.]
Richard and I saw *Venus In Fur* on Broadway in December 2011. It was a new play by David Ives, about a writer/director auditioning an actress for his play *Venus In Fur,* based on the 19th century novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. This is the novel that inspired the term "masochism." I'd read and heard great things about the play in its off-Broadway production, with particular raves for the leading lady, Nina Arianda, and was thrilled to hear it was moving to Broadway.
The play was fascinating, brilliantly paced, cracking with big laughs and high drama. Arianda was a revelation as Vanda. It felt like we were witnessing the arrival of a great new star, and what could be more exciting than that. She sort of plays three characters over the course of the play, and each character had their own voice, physical behavior, and presence. It was a real tour de force performance, which I'm used to seeing from a middle-aged actor. It was thrilling seeing one from an actor just starting their career.
Hugh Dancy was the male lead, and while his role is necessarily overshadowed by the woman's role, he more than held his own, he was a great partner for her. The 2012 film version by Roman Polanski was a delight, well worth seeing, but nothing could compare to the visceral thrill of two actors on the stage.