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Natalie Dormer’s astonishing in thrilling play Venus In Fur – review

Tristram Kenton

Patrick Marber’s superb production, of the signature David Ives’ play, is a thrilling night at the theatre for anybody lucky enough to grab a ticket.

90 minutes without interval, there’s nothing stopping our leading stars in building segments of tension and drama like a wonderfully formed soap opera. Each their own bite-size bundle of energy, it only highlights how great this play is. Sure, the raunchy dialogue or even the revealing outfits,others help in bringing you a great night at the theatre, but it’s the talent of its two stars that make it worth all of your time.

Natalie Dormer takes charge as hopeful actress and later dominating diva Vanda. Beautifully arched in her narrative and succeeding in seducing every member of her audience, we found ourselves totally fixated with all that she did. From the somewhat irritable American accent through to her spoke tongue of wonderful upper class English, this is a masterclass in finding your light and going full out.

Joined by David Oakes as director Thomas, he lands well in charming both his leading lady and onlooking supporters – although he does, sadly, sit in the shadow of his opposite; such is her brilliance. Without question a charming character and totally submissive to her being come close, it’s a charm offensive that left us somewhat smitten. Just don’t go mentioning those beautiful eyes or we will end up feeling giddy all over again!

Related: Watch Tina Turner perform live with the star of her new West End musical

A wonderful example of opportunity, Venus In Fur champions the ability of trying. Trying for a role in a new play by wearing a leather corset, that is, but hey, it worked for Vanda. As she wraps him around her little finger even more throughout the night, the great work of Patrick Marber comes into play. Although it can become a little confusing watching a play adaptation of a book being brought out within a play, it remains an exciting mixture of confusion and delight regardless. This all aided by some rather superb creative design from Rob Howell.

By the end, you’re still left with questions around who are these characters. Are they a group of creatives looking to put on a show? Is she somewhat more? And did that ending really just happen? (Yes, it did, and it was bloody ace!)

This could possibly be one of the best pieces of theatre you’ll see all season. Control, sexuality and a goddess from before – what the bloody hell more do you want?!

Gay Times gives Venus In Fur – 5/5

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