Venus in Fur, a look at the kinkier side of sex

We are constantly being told that the brain is the biggest, or at least the most important, sex organ (the skin is bigger).  David Ives play, Venus in Furs, based on Sacher-Masoch’s actual play of the same title proves this to be true.
Neil Coppen and Janna Ramos-Violente

Neil Coppen and Janna Ramos-Violente

Fifty Shades of Grey has brought the forbidden world of BDSM  (Bondage-Discipline; Domination-Submission; SadoMasochis) out of the closet.  Venus in Furs has taken it into polite, cultured, society.   I went along to Pieter Toerien’s Theatre on the Square to take a look at what the Durban-based KickstArt company has done with this work.
Janna Ramos-Violente and Neil Coppen

Janna Ramos-Violente and Neil Coppen

It is a two-hander starring the talented Neil Coppen as Thomas and the equally talented and stunning Janna Ramos-Violante as Vanda.  Thomas is a director, disillusioned with the actresses auditioning for his play.  Just as he is about to go home in bursts Vanda.  She takes over his day, his play and his mind.   There are some fabulous lines that stay with me long after I have left the theatre.  One is Vanda’s explanation of the collar she is wearing “This was left over from when I was a prostitute”.  The look on Coppen’s face makes one believe he is hearing this for the first time.
How alluring can one woman be?

How alluring can one woman be?

The play moves back and forth between the play within the play and the actors reading the part.   The constant reminder that this is just fantasy keeps intruding into the fantasy. The constant exchange of power between the two is the perfect Domination/submission scene.  The implied preludes to sex sizzles on stage until it gets graphic towards the end, then it fizzles – what was I saying about the brain? Fantasy is often infinitely more alluring than the fulfilment thereof.  However, the warning about this play being unsuitable for children is not without merit.  The sex scenes will make many people uncomfortable, however, the cleverness of the script overrides the discomfort, replacing it with a sense of excitement.  If one is turned on by what is out of the ordinary it may well get hot in the theatre.   The performances, as you may gather, are excellent.
One for the foot fetishists

One for the foot fetishists

The set is Greg King, costumes by Tracy Campbell (although Janna Ramos-Violente has a body just MADE for dominatrix outfits), and the sound is excellent with thunder and lightning crashing around to remind those who disapprove of hellfire and damnation.  Director Steven Stead has done very well to create a sensuous, even smouldering piece of work.
The set on the tiny stage is by Greg King and it works beautifully

The set on the tiny stage is by Greg King and it works beautifully

If your fantasies run to willing sex slaves, consensual degradation and erotic thoughts about spankings, this is just the play for you.  If you are very uncomfortable with this … well, perhaps you should see it just so you can make sense of the psycho-sexual drama and, en route, discover why you are so uncomfortable with these thoughts.  The play is much, much more than SM porn.  It is an intellectual challenge – and it offers sexual thrills.
Venus in Fur sizzles

Venus in Fur sizzles

Venus in Fur runs at Montecasino Theatre until August 25.

 

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About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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One Response to Venus in Fur, a look at the kinkier side of sex

  1. Erik says:

    Great review.

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