Nutcracker Rouge

Theater, Musicals
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

[Note: The review below is from a previous run of Nutcracker Rouge. The revived production is at XIV, Company XIV's new home in the East Village, and the current cast does not include Marisol Cabrera and Jeff Takacs.)

Nutcracker Rouge. Minetta Lane Theatre (see Off Broadway). Directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 50mins. One intermission.

Nutcracker Rouge: In brief

Austin McCormick and his risqué neobaroque dance theater Company XIV present a lavish erotic reimagining of a classic holiday tale (adapted by Jeff Takacs), complete with circus performers, operatic singers and partial nudity.

Nutcracker Rouge: Theater review by David Cote

Around this time of year, the word nutcracker conjures so much innocent wonder: Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the dance of the sugarplum fairy, glitter pasties, stripper poles, comically large stuffed penises.… Oh, did I lose you there? Director-choreographer Austin McCormick has taken the Christmas staple and given it a NSFW spin. Nutcracker Rouge is the perfect hot date: a rated-R riff on the tale of Clara and an enchanted appliance—which may require batteries.

Our wide-eyed heroine is now an adult named Marie Claire (Laura Careless, agog and breathing heavily), and the world she discovers is a wintry realm of half-naked dancers and acrobats, gyrating and performing physical stunts that send her into ecstasies of arousal. They get the audience riled up, too. Decked out in Zane Pihlstrom’s eye-popping couture, the gorgeous ladies and gentlemen alternate circus and ballet acts, emceed by Drosselmeyer (Jeff Takacs) and his chanteuse wife (Shelly Watson). The prerecorded score is an eclectic mix of traditional Nutcracker numbers, jazz covers and pop hits.

Some cast standouts include Marisol Cabrera as a gender-bending flamenco hoofer, Courtney Giannone and her vertiginous hoop work, and sultry singer-dancer Katrina Cunningham. These delectable divas and the rest make for a savory mix of sweet, spicy and salty. For a winter treat that will get you in the mood but not cloy the palate, Nutcracker Rouge does the trick. And in case it isn’t abundantly clear, you can leave the kids at home.—Theater review by David Cote

THE BOTTOM LINE: The burlesqued holiday classic shows off some sexy, new adults moves.

Follow David Cote on Twitter: @davidcote

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Event phone: 800-745-3000
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