Ms. Arianda bursts through the door like the Tasmanian devil on speed. She is late for her 2:15 appointment (that she may or may not have actually had.) She is positively crazed; the word fuck coming out of her mouth every other word. On the surface she appears to be everything that Thomas was railing against on the phone. That immediately dissipates after she convinces Thomas to read with her. When Thomas asks her if she has read the script, she replies I "kinda flipped through it quickly on the train." On the surface she may seem like a ditsy blond. But underneath that she is every bit the gritty, demanding and commanding actress the role requires. As the evening progresses Thomas also discovers he’s not exactly the man he thought he was. A major power shift takes place that is both intriguing and erotic.
Ives reveals these characters slowly and methodically, bit by bit. He facilely has them moving between their 19th Century alter egos and their present day selves. This is facilitated brilliantly by director, Walter Bobbie, who has directed Venus... with such style and grace you might think you were at the ballet. These two characters (four really) circle one another like prey being hunted.
Ives's script is witty and fast-paced and a true delight. If there is a commercial producer out there with any sense, he would pick up this production (currently in a non-commercial run at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre) and turn it into a commercial run. If that doesn't happen, then you only have through December 18th to see this electrifying production.