Venus in Fur: Kinky Boots at the Alley

Categories: Stage

Photo by Jann Whaley
Nicole Rodenburg as Vanda and Michael Bakkensen as Thomas work through her audition
The set-up:
Kinky sex comes to the Alley via David Ives's provocatively funny play, Venus in Fur (2010), which won its leading actress, Nina Arianda, a Tony Award ® for Best Actress when the off-Broadway production sashayed onto the Great White Way in 2011. Mr. Ives was nominated for Best Play, but lost to Bruce Norris and his Clybourne Park, which the Alley produced last season in a spirited regional premiere. Had the Alley's leading lady, Nicole Rodenburg, been in the Broadway show, I don't see how she wouldn't have picked up that prestigious award. She is divine. Dangerous, crafty, but always divine. Her Vanda seduces us with effortless style, just as she does to hapless, male chauvinist Thomas (Michael Bakkensen, so impressive as pioneering dentist Horace Wells in the less-than-impressive Ether Dome, an Alley world premiere bio-play in 2011.)

The execution:
Vanda arrives with a thunderclap. Appears really. Almost materializes - the last one in a long line of actresses that harried director/writer Thomas is auditioning for the role of aristocratic Vanda in his adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's 1870 classic tale of female sexual domination and male humiliation, Venus in Furs. He's tired and irritable, spewing his frustration at the paltry female talent he's had to endure all day. They're so stupid, he rants on the phone to his financée in a wicked impression of a Valley Girl; they all sound like a six-year-old on helium. There are no women out there, he laments when...BOOM..."Vanda" Jordan blows in, dropping her bags, wet script, and F-bombs all over the rehearsal studio.

Check out our interview with the Alley's Resident Assistant Director Brandon Weinbrenner and Artistic Director Gregory Boyd.

Location Info


Alley Theatre

615 Texas Ave., Houston, TX

Category: General

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