Company XIV delivers a sexy Nutcracker for adults
Even the most traditional “Nutcrackers” are treated as a young woman’s coming-of-age story with either a student or company member as the slipper-throwing mice slayer who saves her prince. Company XIV director Austin McCormick’s “Nutcracker Rouge” is no different…EXCEPT there are no mice, kids or snowflakes. They are not missed. Pretty Marie Claire (Lauren Careless) gets lost in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve and wanders into a Burlesque House. Why not? They like celebrating, especially when performing their “Waltz of the Flowers” – a genuine waltz dressed in violet and danced with big smiles. The dancing, singing and acrobatic feats McCormick integrates has the same effect as opening presents on Christmas morning. His ability as a choreographer/director is so confident and creative that in the first act he sets dances to Tchaikovsky’s original score and adds an accompanying one from a pastiche of Big Band numbers, the Ellington/Strayhorn “Nutcracker”, and bawdy French songs (translations not necessary). One example being Candy Cane (Courtney Giannone), who performs with and inside her Cyr wheel to the “Russian Dance” and a ballad about being someone’s candy cane. The second act is when he adds extra delicacies of champagne, macaroons, and cake. The other sweet Marie Claire discovers the Sweet Spot. There’s nothing new with sexing up the classics, but “Nutcracker Rouge” is different.