From the moment Celine Stubel’s Vanda Jordan blows onto the stage at the Belfry Theatre, the fun begins.
From stumbling and desperate to sexy and demanding, Stubel commands every minute of attention.
Based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s classic erotic novel, Venus in Furs, this Tony Award nominated adaptation is deftly handled by Stubel and castmate Vincent Gale.
Set in “18-whatever” the play-within-a-play challenges Vanda and Gale’s Thomas Novachek, as they embark on an unforgettable audition in which Vanda becomes Wanda von Dunayev, and Thomas reads the part of Severin von Kushemski, her hopeful slave-in-waiting.
Complex and subtle Venus is both teacher and student as the characters discover and debate in a unique battle of the sexes.
Venus blooms as Vanda and Thomas get caught up in the characters of his play, and the balance of power tips back and forth at an escalating pace.
In an enthralling, passionate performance, the pair kept the opening night audience alive with a liberal peppering of F-bombs, innuendo and blazing chemistry.
Sound designer and composer Tobin Stokes’ contribution was perfectly timed and with sets and costumes designed by theatre veteran Christina Poddubiuk helping keep the crowd both following the plot and guessing – this play will go down as one of the Belfry’s best.
Forget Fifty Shades of Grey, this is 50 shades of Stubel and you don’t want to miss it – as Vanda says: “It’s good acting, I tell ya.”
Venus in Fur, directed by Michael Shamata, runs to Dec. 14 at the Belfry Theatre.