Entertainment » Theatre

Snow White

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Feb 17, 2016
Hilly Bodin as Snow White and Courtney Giannone as The Prince
Hilly Bodin as Snow White and Courtney Giannone as The Prince  

Having reviewed his "Nutracker Rouge" enthusiastically twice, I came into choreographer Austin McCormick's "Snow White" with enthusiasm and hope that this would mark a step forward for his enterprising Company XIV.

Unfortunately, this sexed-up version of the fairy tale falls flat. What was inventive, funny and subversive the first time around came across as flat, reductive and way too much like the first, without any redemptive additions.

Certainly the very hard-working members of Company XIV should be absolved from any responsibility for this work's lack of success. The 10 members are on stage almost the entire time, and work very, very hard. Given the shallow stage of the small off-Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre, the dancers manage to give the impression that a lot can be done in a small space.

McCormick has chosen to go back to the original retelling of the popular German folk tale rather than Disney's famous full-length cartoon version. Although he eliminates the king, he does include the series of temptations the Wicked Queen uses to tempt Snow White after she takes refuge with the dwarfs.

Other than this interesting interpolation, however, the story follows the same trajectory. At least I think so; one of the major problems with this production is that there is so much "business" going on, it is hard to discern the outlines of the plot from here to there.

Once again, McCormick has created an evening of pastiche that incorporates Weimar cabaret, Louis XIV/Rameau ballet, '50s pin-up naughty novelty songs, plus flamenco, Rockettes and whatever else is lying around the choreographic bin. Add in sexy, provocative outfits and pole dancing-level erotic writhings, and you have an evening that adds up to both too much and not enough.

It must be de rigueur to recreate a Weimar atmosphere that German is used along with English to explain what the hell is going on. Whatever the reason, the effect is more pretentious than evocative.

Marcy Richardson brings a brisk soprano to the various songs, which range from contemporary pop to Schubert lieder. As the wicked queen, the beautiful Laura Careless shows her range not only in her dance moves, but also her vocal ability.

The ending is a wow, but the shame is that that same inventiveness could not have been spread throughout the two-hour evening. That said, the costumes and the lighting were superb.

McCormick is definitely a talent, but he needs to bring a different perspective to his work. If he goes to the same well as the inspiration for "Nutcracker Rouge," he threatens to turn what he calls an "immersive experience" into a sinking ship.

"Snow White" runs through March 12 at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village. For tickets or information, call 800-745-3000 or visit Ticketmaster.

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

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