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Reviewed by Edward Rubin
"Snow White" And The Evil Queen As You Never Seen Them Before
I must admit that the ad campaign for Company XIV's production of "Snow White," inspired by the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale that we all grew up knowing -- it is being sold as an adult version of the folk tale -- more than captured my attention. Like Whitney Houston's singing I Will Always Love You, and Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go One, it wrapped itself around my gonads and reeled me right in. Being an unadulterated hedonist -- what else is there besides reading, writing, and arithmetic - the very thought of seeing a no holds barred production, directed by triple threat Bad Boy Austin McCormick, with half naked men and woman, showing their wares, acting, dancing and otherwise -- one shouldn't have to wait till summer at the beach to see what people are sporting all year round -- appealed to my most prurient side. For those not in the know, McCormick's Nutcracker Rouge was nominated for a Drama Desk Award in the category of unique theatrical experience in 2014 and for best choreography for Rococo Rouge in 2015.
Surprise of all surprises, aside from a few perky boobs
with pasties, a number of tight buns, six packs, and G Strings supporting
hanging fruit, and strains of the late 1920's Weimer cabaret scene,
the waves of eroticism that peopled the stage was a lot more audiovisual
than visceral. Of course, for those minds that are capable of mounting
a runaway horse, Snow White's use of mood inducing music from classical
to rap to pop, Jeanette Oi-Suk Hew's lighting that bathed the actors
in amatory hues of red, Zane Pihlstrom's eye-popping costumes, both
ornately designed and near-nude peekaboo, with a concentrated effort,
a kind of ecstasy, albeit short of climaxing, can be achieved. I say
a concentrated effort for McCormick has thrown everything, as well
as the kitchen sink, onto the stage. Some judicious editing, especially
in the first act which seemed to drag on, would have done us all well.
Most annoying was the play's continual use of a rolling Punch and Judy booth, the type seen at carnivals, to further along the story. Equally weak, although it must have seemed visually exciting to the director at the time, is the use of two fan-like, hand held signs on which images of the seven dwarfs, barely seen by the audience, are drawn. Yes, you heard it here. There are no dwarfs aka in PC lingo as Little People in this extravaganza, or for that matter, no human's posing as dwarfs. The only males in Snow White, and there are four, or maybe five dancers, and all are there to service the Evil Queen (Laura Careless). Even Prince Charming (Courtney Ginannone) whose kiss frees Snow White (Hilly Bodin) from the queen's curse, adding a nice gender-bending touch, is played by woman. When not on stage Ginannone, also a classical pianist, hits the 88's with music by Debussy and Prokofiev. It is her amazingly deft Cyr wheel performance in the second half of the play that elicits the first rounds of unrestrained applause.
When all of accessorized values -- the lighting, music, costumes, props, flashing video images of the actor/dancers on a diaphanous curtain, and the choreography, both solo and ensemble, modern, jazz, and ballet -- meld into one, the true genius of the McCormick, as well as the exquisite athleticism of the finely tuned dancers, are ushered into view. Also, added to the mix is opera trained Mary Richardson who sings songs by Franz Schubert, Handel and Britney Spears. Though everybody plays an important part in this souffle, it is Hilly Bodin's Snow White, and Laura Careless's Evil Queen, the two flashiest jewels in the setting, that get to do most of the shimmering.
More about production cast:
You can view the Snow White promo video trailer at:
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