Skin and sexuality abound in Company XIV’s newest production, Nutcracker Rouge, which gives the Tchaikovsky classic a face lift and a Viagra. Founder and artistic Director Austin McCormick would make Oscar Wilde proud as he shows off his unique sense of style with an eclectic performance that is both decadent and artful, which references the Nutcracker as well as fables such as Little Red Riding Hood while mixing in aspects of baroque, burlesque, ballet, and a bawdy 19th Century cancan.
The piece stars Laura Careless as Marie Claire and Jeff Takacs, who also wrote the piece, as Drosselmeyer but the entire company is present through most of the piece. The format of the show breaks from the mold offering some creative departures such as its opening, beginning as the audience stands, incorporating them into the work and the range of movement which encompasses the space, including swings which fall from the ceiling at points, interactive set pieces, and almost kaleidoscopic routines which at once simulate sex and dazzle the eye with sheer physicality and speed. Special mention should go to costume designer Zane Pihlstrom for the beautiful and at times over the top Gagaesque costumes ranging from S/M leather to a pink beehive wig complete with a ship in tow and lighting designer Gina Scherr who elicits the perfect mood in the piece’s different tones.
Nutcracker Rouge runs through January 9that the 303 Bond Theater in Carroll Gardens and 50% of the proceeds are being donated to New York’s Ali Forney Center, a safe center for LGBT youth. To purchase tickets go to http://www.companyxiv.com/