To be fair, I missed much of the Hugh Dancy train as well. I didn't see Journey's End. I liked him very much in The Pride, but he was delightfully functional, not revolatory. I have, sadly, never seen him in another production in any media. Yet somehow I have infomation on who he dates.
None of this made me particularly excited to catch a Saturday matinee of Venus in Fur at the Lyceum.
Luckily, for me, I finally caught up and caught on.
Nina Arianda is simply a big bag of superlatives. She was so light and comically coy, but always so specific. It all felt so real that I just enjoyed spending time in her presence. Every breath, every turn, every line was perfection.
Hugh Dancy was no less delightful. He played coy corrupter and come-on king. His smarm was genuine and his vulnerability simultaneously laid bare and guarded. He makes a turn late in the show, that was as powerful a speech as I have seen. He commanded the stage. But he relented it as deftly.
They were a good match. I am not one for deconstructions of the play. The comedy was joyous, the psychological underpinning uncomfortable, and gender imbalances an endless teeter totter.
Walter Bobbie's direction was very non-Walter Bobbie. John Lee Beatty's scenic design was functional and created the right environment for the box set. The box set was limiting at times for those of us seated far audience right.
The time flew by. I didn't drift off once. And I was happy to be alive and in the presence of these actors every moment of the play. Venus in Fur is perfection and this time I am making sure that I am all aboard.