Have you ever heard of a baroque, burlesque version of the class ballet , THE NUTCRACKER? Neither had I until coming across NUTCRACKER ROUGE now playing at the Minetta Lane Theatre. The show followed a main character through the woods who was on a drug trip. She stumbled upon interesting characters and was transformed into the Sugar Plum Fairy at the end.
The beginning of the show started off silent, dark and intriguing. However, there were two characters who started to play emcee’s which shifted the feel. Instead of staying in an edgy realm, it started to seem like a drag show. If only they could have told the story with just music and dancing, it would have made for a much better production.
Austin McCormick who conceived, choreographed and directed the show had some great ideas. Unfortunately, not everything added up. All the dance scenes were executed perfectly, however, it seemed the show was having a hard time finding its voice. One third of the music was actually from THE NUTCRACKER ballet so if you were not familiar with it, you may be confused. There were times where the plot line made sense and at other times it just seemed like a spectacle. The bottom line, every play should tell a story and this one was in limbo.
Despite the somewhat odd choices, there were many stunts and impressive body movements. A girl named “Candy Cane” twirled around in an oversized hula hoop. A boy named “Turkish Delight” did a balancing act. When he moved you could see every muscle in his body working. My eyes were so transfixed on his incredible motions, I was sad when it ended. I’ve never even seen anything like it. Even Olympic gymnastic men couldn’t hold a candle to this guy.
Set and costume design by Zane Pihlstrom were gorgeous. The multiple chandeliers lent a classy feeling to the trippy story unfolding on stage. The tutus, shoes, and pasties all had a coherent burlesque feel.
The show needs some revisions but was entertaining. If you are looking for a new twist on a classical ballet, I would suggest trying it out. If you prefer the traditional holiday shows, you can skip this one. For more information: http://companyxiv.com/productions/?view=nutcracker-rouge
Rating: That Is The Question