See it if You appreciate an evocative, poignant retelling of the exploitation of a naive young woman for a body part that's normal in her own world.
Don't see it if You don't like emotionally resonant history plays even if they are well-acted and beautifully staged. You like upbeat endings.
See it if you are interested in drama addressing unbearably cruel racist history via Brechtian alienation style; extraordinary writing & performances
Don't see it if you don't like to be challenged emotionally & intellectually by a story of a woman claiming autonomy in terrible & too current circumstances Read more
See it if you like a provocative staging of Brechtian epic theater with a contemporary material
Don't see it if I really dont see why.. unless you prefer a happy-go-lucky musical
See it if Shocking racism and misogyny in 1810. Tragic love affair. Audience put into awkward roles. Stunning imagery. Immersive and challenging.
Don't see it if You are not prepared for heavy, confrontational, uncomfortable material. You don't like a complex script with shifting tones and layers.
See it if IF U WANT 2 C LORI PARKS THOUGHT PROVOKING HISTORICALLY BASED HORROR BROUGHT 2 LIFE IN A POETIC FANTASY. BRILLIANTLY ACTED AND STAGED.
Don't see it if IF U DON’T HAVE THE PATIENCE TO GET THRU THE 1ST ACT & WAIT FOR ACT 2 WHICH MAKES U UNDERSTAND ACT I. EXPLAINING ALL/U DONT LIKE GENIUS
See it if you appreciate historical storytelling in a slightly surreal fashion....disturbingly sad but important to not forget out roots
Don't see it if you like straight plays that take no artistic license
See it if You like poetic and artistic productions about culture, race, and society.
Don't see it if You don't enjoy highly artistic and expressionistic plays that can be emotionally despairing.
See it if You want a heartfelt and sometimes humorous portrayal of a sad story.
Don't see it if You can't handle "simulated nudity".
"A patchy revival...This latest reincarnation has a new clarity that illuminates both the script’s prescience and its flaws. Directed by Lear deBessonet, the play reveals itself to be an unexpectedly traditional piece by the standards of Ms. Parks...Yet Ms. deBessonet’s production as a whole never achieves a compelling unity of vision...That’s partly to do with the script...And for the most part, the talented cast doesn’t yet match the stylish precision of its surroundings."
"In the two decades since its Public Theater debut, Suzan-Lori Parks’s 'Venus' has lost none of its power to unsettle and appall. If anything, the story of Saartjie Baartman’s exploitation at the hands of early-19th-century human traffickers—some venal, some high-minded—has gained in shock value. Its current revival, directed by Lear deBessonet, is devastating...Jah brings an unaffected dignity to Baartman’s quest, even as she begs for validation."
“By turns moving and didactic…Parks’s Brechtian flourishes work effortfully to distance us from the tale. But Jah and deBessonet play against such archness, determined to bring us into Saartjie’s emotional world, which is one of naivete, enchantment and disillusion…deBessonet delivers some magic here, with a carnival-like production given visual resonance in Matt Saunders’ striking scene design…If this works to make Saartjie Baartman more than a symbol, well, all the better.”
"An absorbing revival...The story is quite straightforward. The storytelling is highly theatrical. The script flows with poetry, music and moments that pop, like when the dexterous Zainab Jah slips into character as Venus. Director Lear deBessonet guides a fine ensemble and evocative staging. As 'Venus' goes from gritty carnival sideshow to fancy French domestic setting, it reminds that cruelty and objectification are at home in both places."
"'Venus' is pageant-like, intellectual and reminiscent of 'The Elephant Man.' And now Lear deBessonet has staged an excellent revival of the play...Whether the play’s bold and self-aware theatricality adds to or detracts from the impact of the storytelling is up for debate. But thanks to superb production values and an absorbing and ambiguous performance from Jah, 'Venus' works over the audience like an intoxicating spell."
"Emotional and intellectual ambiguities make 'Venus' incredibly difficult to sit through, and yet, they are also what make it such an intriguing work...Baartman could easily be portrayed as a helpless victim, but Parks' imagined narrative—as well as Jah's complex performance—obscure anything cut-and-dried about the mythology that has come to surround her...Jah is superb at maneuvering the intricacies of such a complicated character."
"Balancing pathos, power, and sensuality, Zainab Jah shows us the complex woman behind the stage figure...deBessonet's perfectly cold and tense production begins with Jah making a quiet, unemotional ritual out of putting on a padded flesh-toned suit replicating Baartman's figure...‘Venus’ is aggressively unsentimental, so when Baartman continually prompts her lover to demonstrate his affection with her naïve inquiry, ‘Love me?,’ the tragedy is heartbreaking.”
"Both overelaborate and undercooked, a series of mirthless cartoons that state and restate its theme to diminishing effect…Despite some very fine work in the title role by the sly, smoky-voiced Zainab Jah -- it never becomes the gripping, revelatory indictment it means to be…None of these moments come together to create a coherent portrait,,,deBessonet's production often feels lacking in energy, despite its highly qualified cast.”