(Photo: Snowflakes in Land of the SweetsPhoto by Chris Blakeley)
Anything but your typical Nutcracker, in Land of the Sweets: The Burlesque Nutcracker,you won’t find a saccharinely smiling Clara or quaintly marching toy soldiers. Instead, producers Lily Verlaine and Jasper McCann have replaced cloying sweetness with campy giddiness and sensual surprises. A self proclaimed “spectacle of ecdysiastic pageantry,” the program boasts scantily clad snowflakes to balloon-popping spices, making it a delightfully adult alternative to the classic ballet. Already a wildly popular attraction, the production ran at the Triple Door to a full house this Tuesday evening and has sold out most of its shows. Audiences are encouraged to hoot and holler, imbibe and be merry, during this troupe’s romp, making the experience even more festive.
Though burlesque, with all its gimmicks and teases, is of course the premise of the show, the amount of technical dancing was impressive as well. Famed Seattledanseur Paris Original had no problem keeping up with Miss Laurel Bordeaux in some fleet-footed pointe work as Chinese Tea Mistresses and Flower Foliage. The pair’s obvious technical training made them well-matched performers, though Paris’ charismatic stage presence belied his more extensive burlesque experience. Hazel Cupari and Waxie Moon also made a great tap dancing pair as Russian Volga boys. The men hammed it up through complex rhythms and their requisite disrobing from zoot suits to sparkling blue briefs. The Aerial Suites also performed an angelic duet. The two women suspended and contorted themselves in all manner of positions (including jaw-dropping toe hangs and a cascading human Jacob’s ladder) from a single hoop in the middle of the stage. Dually notable were the Snowflakes with their Rockette-style kicks and prances, all in glittery high heels.
(Miss Indigo Blue as the Countess of Candies Photo by Chris Blakeley)
What truly makes the show, however, are the characters. Each performer brought a different zest to the production, though some with decidedly more flavor than others. McCann’s Herr Drosselmingus kept the show moving with his schmaltzy persona, quick-witted lines and devious innuendos. Inga Ingenue’s blond pertness and wide-eyed coy-ness struck just the right chord, making her the stand-out of the Snowflakes. Waxie Moon’s turn as the not-so-nefarious rat king showcased his brash penchant for the dramatic. But Miss Verlaine’s Coffee Casbah routine, was the steamiest (literally and figuratively) of the evening. She pouted sultrily through some intricate partnering sequences, all while being cleverly undressed by her two Arabian bodyguards.
Though it’s a matter of preference whether the tease or the reveal is the most exciting, the groups’ antics and unabashed passion for this art form are sure to dazzle and impress. At the close, McCann toasted the audience “to peace, love, and glamour,” a fitting benediction for this glittery extravaganza. Land of the Sweetscontinues through Christmas Eve and has added two additional shows on Dec 27th. For more information and to purchase tickets see: http://www.landofthesweets.com/