Friday, February 22, 2013

Of Sex and Sausage: Venus in Fur, Meet Viener Fest

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 8:46 AM

  • William Boggess
If you have a hard time getting tickets to Cabaret tonight at TPAC, we've got what sounds like a first-rate alternative: the first local production of David Ives' acclaimed two-hander Venus in Fur, courtesy of the Music City Theatre Company. Tonight at 7:30 is the last night of its (too brief) three-night run at the Vibe nightclub at 1713 Church St., and Evans Donnell at ArtsNash whips up excitement over it:

“…You don’t have to tell me about sadomasochism,” the young actress going after a rather juicy part tells the director she’s auditioning for in Venus in Fur, now making its highly-charged Tennessee debut courtesy of the Music City Theatre Company. “I’m in the theater.”

The actress uttering that funny and truthful observation is Vanda (Carrie Jennings), a determined young woman who comes better prepared for her audition with director Thomas (Bradley Moore) than she initially reveals. Thomas has adapted Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 erotic novella ”Venus in Furs” into a new play; at the outset he laments there are no modern women right for the lead role, but Vanda’s last-minute arrival upsets that smug assessment.

After that, you'll likely be craving ... sausage. Last week we stumbled upon what may become the post-theater hangout that every city needs: Viener Fest, the new German-themed restaurant on the edge of Centennial Park at 117 28th Ave. N. Not only did we find the proprietor is Jeffrey Ellis, longtime Nashville theater correspondent for, we found the joint staffed almost entirely with theater people. The server had just left a successful run in Nashville Shakespeare's Macbeth; another staffer had just produced Circle's well-reviewed production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson.

Ellis tells us he hopes to decorate the walls with caricatures of local theater folk, an idea we heartily applaud. We also endorse the three-wurst sampler with marbled rye bread and sauerkraut for $8, as well as what may be the best app we've had in ages: a basket of warm, soft pretzel bites accompanied by pungent-sweet mustard. (Read Chris Chamberlain's account on our sister food blog Bites.) Gosh, if only there were some plays this weekend with Germany-related content. ...

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