Reviewed by Amalisha HuEck
A funny and exciting play, Venus In Fur by David Ives, set in New York City, begins with the meeting of an actress and director at a theatre audition. The dark comedy is sexy, erotic, clever and full of surprises. This production is truly a MUST see.
Director/Playwright, Thomas Novachek (Mark Blanchard) is ready to leave, when a young strikingly beautiful woman enters the theatre. Like all Prima donnas, although late she demands an audition. When Blanchard wants her to leave, after the long, exhausting day of the mediocre quality of the actresses that showed up, the woman is determined and insists on having an audition. At first, Vanda Jordon (Katyusha aka Ekaterina Melnik) seems playfully lost and unprepared, but when Blanchard tries to prevent her from auditioning, she puts on a perfect period dress, lets her hair down and changes into an excellent actress who knows the script superbly well and gets totally into the role. Eventually, the director is fully possessed and
is entirely under her control.
Katyusha is absolutely perfect for this role in this adaptation of the German sadomasochistic novel "Venus In Furs." She is mesmerizing and it was a pleasure to watch her performance. There was no doubt that she was the right actress for this role. Katyusha clearly enjoys every moment of it. Her natural accent is also a huge plus for this role.
Born and raised in Moscow, Katyusha has played more than hundred roles in theater, cinema and television series and has gained great popularity and recognition among the Russian-speaking audience. She is an international multiple award-winner in both theatre and film, life coach, book author and benefactor.
Mark Blanchard's interest in directing began at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY. He moved on to a prestigious film directing program at Hofstra University, USC Film School and AFI. He is returning to the stage now after 20+ years, because playing the role of Thomas Novachek was too juicy to pass up.
Produced by Samadahi Entertainment and co-Produced by the Actorhood & Sandra Kuker-Franco this production is an absolute success. Under the skillful direction of Mark Blanchard who totally knows what he wanted, as an actor and as the director Venus In Fur is fully alive, natural, and potent from the beginning until the end. Simple, yet effective graphic design is created by Kiff Scholl and AFK Design, Lighting Designer is Derek Jones, Sound Designer is Jeanne Valleroy and stage is managed by Jack James Lawson. Bravo!
Venus In Fur runs through Sept. 3 at the McCadden Place Theatre, 1157 N. McCadden Place (one block north of Santa Monica Blvd.). Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 3:00pm. General admission tickets are $30. ***Jay Duncan plays the role of Thomas Novachek Aug. 25 to Sept 3.