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See Venus in Fur, Canadian Stage’s seductive and sophisticated hit

See Venus in Fur, Canadian Stage’s seductive and sophisticated hit
(Image: David Hou)

Canadian Stage’s production of Venus in Fur, the darkly sexy comedy from American playwright David Ives, leaves no space for filler. The set is little more than chairs and simple New York City backdrops, and the cast is limited to solo-show master Rick Miller and homegrown film and Broadway star Carly Street. The bare-bones production highlights the complexity of Ives’s twisty script: in his search for the perfect actress to star in his adaptation of the erotic German novel Venus in Furs, a chauvinistic playwright unexpectedly discovers a talented and ambitious candidate. As they begin to act out the racy relationship between the characters of the play-within-the-play, the boundaries between script and real life begin to dissolve, upending their pre-determined gender roles and power dynamics. Street’s shapeshifting turn is dazzling—she took home a Dora Award and a Toronto Theatre Critics Award for best female performance. After two sold-out stints under Toronto’s veteran theatre and opera director Jennifer Tarver, her performance will surely be as captivating as ever.

To Dec. 28. $29–$59. Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley St., 416-368-3110, canadianstage.com.

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