It’s hard to describe The Slutcracker to anybody who has not seen the show. To say it’s a deliciously perverted take on The Nutcracker hardly tells the whole story. Yet, its popularity speaks for itself. Running until December 31 at The Somerville Theater at Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, it has become a must see holiday event for all New Englanders over age 18.
This humorously, sexually reinterpreted version of The Nutcracker has had and will continue to have audiences laughing out loud while also squealing and giggling with delighted merriment. Director-choreographer Vanessa White created this show eight seasons ago, and she sells out just about every performance. At $27 a ticket, that’s quite a feat.
Beginning with the party scene, this production waists no time getting into the twisted sexual antics that make up the theme of these re-imagined storylines. Clara greets her obviously horny friends as they arrive at her home. Their wandering eyes and exaggerated physical motions suggest they have much more on their minds than exchanging Christmas presents.
Clara, as portrayed by Esmeralda, comes off as a naïve housewife who eventually discovers the many pleasant and exciting uses for her Slutcracker prince. After coming to life, he takes her from naivety to stunned(and aroused and satisfied) in one amazing night. Clara dances with the grace of a gazelle, though some of her dance moves have been altered to suggest something other than dancing. The performer can clearly dance and act, and that gives this bawdy production a solid weight it would not other wise have. That the interlocking storylines have been fully revisited with inventive detail is another plus.
Aunt Drosselmeyer, as portrayed by Jane Doe, is a leather clad big mama obsessed with her dildo and the joys she seeks to spread to all those around her, especially the unsuspecting Clara. This Drosselmeyer is a barrelful of laughs, leading her leading lady into unspeakable temptation while proving a bit of a frolic prone babe herself. Her acting skills included an ability to shake and vibrate with believable motions. She played naughty in perfect time and sensibility to the score’s melodic spikes, and, like most of the dancing, made it look easy for ballet to go hand in hand with burlesque idioms.
Two of the cuter and livelier characters were the Batteries, two honey pots clad in gray bodysuits with the Ever-Ready logo included. To say these two powered up the Slutcracker prince, which, as you may have guessed by now, is a man-shaped sex toy come to life, might be understated. They were totally spent, and, the Prince, came to life.
The pairing of Clara and The Prince eventually resulted in of the first act’s most suggestive, most brilliant choreographed scenes. As the pair repose on a leveled futon, they obviously consummate their fantastical love affair. To symbolize how intensely Clara is feeling it, four Orgasm Hoopers, clad in thongs and pasties, come on stage to symbolize the O experience, holding their lighted hula hoops in between their hands and eventually their thighs, shaking their hula hoops with unbridled and involuntary enthusiasm.
Portrayed by Oliver Tryst, the Slutcracker Prince danced exceedingly well, considering he was really just a sex toy come to life. He completely left the ground with some of his high kicks, and his costume made him glitter under the lights. His dance routine with Clara beautifully mingled classic ballet moves with completely suggestive movements. The two of them performed an even more enticing number when Clara’s real life beau Fritz returned, stricken with shock and sexual jealousy. The two men appeared to be “sharing” Clara, with one tossing her into the air before another let her slide down him coquettishly.
Act II began with eleven party guests waking in scantily clad attire. This scene is something an audience has to see to believe. The raunchy good humor that came from these enthusiastic holiday partiers was over the top, as was everything else in the second half of the show. Soon, the audience was treated to another grand take on the classic holiday story. As Clara and the Prince look on, a variety of dancers took turns entertaining them. Each was sharply choreographed and their characters took on delightfully sinful new characteristics. A team of dominatrix dancers were particularly entertaining.
Another highlight came near the end. Sugar Dish Fairy performed many nuanced moves from the ballet tradition while incorporating numerous suggestive moves, bends, and splits to suggest something beyond the beauty of ballet. She was a hoot.
This review only scratches the surface of what takes place in these performances of The Slutcracker. Audience just have to submit themselves to all the glorious pleasures of this wildly, delightfully perverse take on a familiar holiday classic ballet.