Venus In Fur is a Kinky, Wicked Adventure into S&M

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Not many people would get on stage in lingerie and a dog collar for a ninety minute production, but Celine Stubel and Vincent Gale sure gave it their all in this wickedly funny, constantly entertaining play-within-a-play.

An actress shows up late to an audition for a play about S&M. Although the director doesn’t want to give her a chance, she convinces him otherwise which sparks an interesting night of theatre, domination, and exploration of a different side of theatre.

Just as her character in last season’s Proud, Stubel’s Vanda is consistently relatable, humorous, and intelligent in a way not initially expected. She seems to have a knack for playing women with power underneath the surface, ready to knock you off your feet for underestimating her strength. Her spunk is what immediately stood out to me in the play and it never let up. Each time I’ve seen her perform she’s managed to immediately capture my attention and keep me rooted firmly with her.

Her loud, brash, capturing performance was offset wonderfully by the sometimes overbearing, sometimes meek and tame Gale. His ability to present such operatic emotion within a character playing at being dominated was at times intricate and underrated and other times conspicuously presented for the audience. Whether he was Thomas, Severin, or Vanda he never missed a beat and the audience was right along with him.

I was impressed with how easily both characters slipped between roles, able to pick up an accent and the tension of a scene exactly where they left off. For most of the performance, the play within was so smoothly interwoven with the audition but at the end as everything unravels it was an incredible release to see the switches in domination and character take place.

The play runs Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm through December 14 with matinees on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Tickets can be booked by calling 250-385-6815, or online at http://www.belfry.bc.ca. Student discounts and rush seating are available. Just remember, there’s strong language and adult subject matter along with some minimal strobe lighting effects.

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