Venus in Fur

'Venus in Fur' electrifies at A.C.T.

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Good lord, this play is hot, hot, hot. Rave reviews of its run in New York last year -- mostly heralding the rise of Broadway newcomer Nina Arianda -- gave me pause. Could our own A.C.T. pull off this super-steamy, sometimes-harrowing, consistently enthralling sex comedy without Arianda's now-famous starpower?

No fear. Sensational actors Brenda Meaney and Henry Clarke stole the audience's breath away, when playwright David Ives' perverse 2010 take on novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's perverse 1870 masterpiece opened at A.C.T. last night. Prepare to be intellectually and emotionally (and even a bit physically) whipped, beaten, and thrilled into submission.

And yes, there will be a touch of Velvet Underground.

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