Ballet was always my favorite dance class to take (to no one’s surprise I was never very graceful unfortunately), but I never actually got into going to the ballet. I saw The Nutcracker a couple of times growing up but that was it. When I was offered tickets to see the risqué version, Nutcracker Rouge, at the Minetta Lane Theatre, I was totally excited.
Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Austin McCormick, the beginning was a little over the top and had essentially nothing to do with the plot but it was amusing nevertheless. Once the general plot and characters (the one everyone knows) were introduced, it was an absolute blast. The Turkish Delight, the Candy Cane Girl, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Licorice Boys (ohmigod!). They were all perfection, exactly how you think a more adult version of The Nutcracker should go. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t waiting for the moment when the main character, the chaste Marie Claire (played by Laura Careless), would strip away her huge formal gown to show the audience how she’d been perverted by her new friends. The moment definitely delivered.
The combination of gorgeous dancers, circus performers, and the two emcees (Jeff Takacs, pictured above, and Shelly Watson) were the perfect ingredients for a fantastically enjoyable evening of unconventional ballet. It will be especially helpful in getting you more into the holiday season. A burlesque version of The Nutcracker sounds almost so logical that it boggles my mind that it hadn’t been done sooner. If you’re around to check it out (and you enjoy burlesque, of course), I’d highly recommend taking in Nutcracker Rouge.
Full disclosure: Tickets were generally provided by the production.