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Time Out Theater Review: 'Nutcracker Rouge'

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Tchaikovsky's iconic holiday ballet "The Nutcracker" meets burlesque with the show "Nutcracker Rouge." Time Out New York's David Cote filed the following report for NY1.

Around the holidays, the word "nutcracker" conjures up so much childhood wonder: the famous ballet, Tchaikovsky's enchanting music. Some of those classic images come across in the burlesque riff, "Nutcracker Rouge," but there's more: pasties, stripper poles and simulated whoopie. This Nutcracker is not for the kiddies.

Choreographed and directed by Austin McCormick, "Nutcracker Rouge" is the perfect outing for that adventurous significant other or hot date: a rated-R remake of the tale of Clara and a magical nutcracker. Only here, our wide-eyed heroine is an adult named Marie Claire, and the world she discovers is not filled with sugarplum fairies and international treats. Instead, this wintry world of candies is inhabited by half-naked dancers and acrobats, gyrating and performing physical stunts that send Clara into ecstasies of arousal. They get the audience pretty riled up, too.

Decked out in Zane Philstrom's eye-popping couture, the gorgeous ladies and gentlemen of the show mix circus and dance skills in suggestive fashion, throwing in a dash of slapstick and smoky tunes. The pre-recorded score is an eclectic mix of traditional Nutcracker numbers and jazz covers, pop songs and lullabies. In the 16-member cast, some of the standouts include Marisol Cabrera as a gender-bending flamenco dancer, Courtney Giannone's dizzying hoop skills, sultry chanteuse Katrina Cunningham and in the pivotal role of Marie Claire, the ardent and appealing Laura Careless. These delectable divas and the rest of the cast make for a savory mix of sweet, spicy and salty.

For a holiday treat that will get you in the mood but not cloy the palette, "Nutcracker Rouge" does the trick. And in case it isn't abundantly clear, leave the kids at home.

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