The Slutcracker is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Its latest holiday season run at The Somerville Theatre at Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts is as much a hoot as it’s ever been. It’s also still extremely popular, having filled the theater last Saturday night.
The Slutcracker is so huge that producer, creator, and choreography Vanessa White has to have two casts, her Amazing Cast and her Bodacious Cast. I caught the last Saturday night show that featured the Bodacious Cast, and they were as bodacious as ever. For those Slutcracker virgins yet to be initiated, the production turns the traditional version on its head(pun intended). This storyline is as sexualized as the traditional is sappily innocent. Watching these characters play out their desires while the original score comes piping through the sound system proves to be one of the most inspired, hilarious ideas in local dance and theater.
It is hard to choose which cast member to focus on first. There is such an abundance of talent and humor coming from each one. The long suffering Fitz, as played by Jon Smalls, is an excellent foil. By being left out of the attraction and sexual tension between Clara and her Slutcracker Prince, he becomes a sympathetic character. That he doesn’t get what is going on may make him less sexy, but he highlights what is going on with Clara and her Prince by being so out of touch with it.
Clara, as portrayed by Iris Apfeltini, easily switches gears in the show, from innocent to frisky in the beginning, from cutesy to irrepressibly hot a bit later. Apfeltini’s movements reflected an uncanny ability to at once be ballet style disciplined and sexy, sensual. Her motions, while refined, also reflect an enthusiasm for the delights to come on this snowy Christmas Eve. Her bright eyed stage presence draws all to watch her and her acting makes her seem natural on stage. Her leg shaking response to her prince forces audience members to look more closely to ascertain that it is only simulated.
The Slutcracker Prince, as portrayed by dancer-actor Ryan Lange, was a winsome cross between charming and perverse. He might have reminded women of men like rock star Prince, not the biggest guy but the slyest. His short, slightly built physique was athletic as hell and clearly capable of slipping and sliding into tight spaces. His dance moves were swift and concise, as he is portraying a dildo come to life. Just being the creature that he is provides enough merriment, but when he starts moving around on stage, and then begins giving Clara a buzz, he is totally entertaining and the envy of every woman in the show and likely quite a few in the audience as well.
Drosselmeyer, played by Boston area burlesque performer Honey Pie, was as controlling, manipulating, and mesmerizing as ever. Being a tall, well-built woman gave her an edge over the other characters, suggesting power and authority with her physique alone. Eventually, though she did it with subtle nuances. Honey Pie wielded her powers, turning the dildo into a energetic prince and Clara into a willing participant in a night of fun debauchery.
The end of the first act is the most colorful of all. When Clara finally experiences her prince in all of his turbo charged glory, the action is highlighted by the Orgasm Fairies. Being as close to naked as one can be on stage, these fairies perform an amazing feat of hula-hoop gymnastics. Their routine matches the energy level of what is going on with the two main characters while providing their own explosive form of expression. Their routine is positively glowing.
The plot line often emulates the flow of storyline in the traditional Nutcracker. The comedy ensues, usually, from the sexual reinvention of everything in the show. Drosselmeyer is a heavy shade of dominatrix as she bosses people around as much as she controls them through her powers, an acting touch that works well, heightening the level of quality of this production. Clara’s wide eyed innocence is only an actor’s shift away from sexual fascination.
Just as the traditional Clara and her prince are entertained by a variety of dance teams from various countries and cultures, this Clara and prince sit up in their bed and voyeuristically watch sexually charged routines from a variety of fetishes. Flamenco (Bella Donna) was a lively, spirited fishnet clad performer and her Spanish dance motions were well executed. Pussy Whips were attired in skimpy leather outfits and they punctuated the action well with perfectly timed cracks of their leather whips. The Dance Of The Reed Pole was performed by the agile Audrey Rivera Santos. Santos not only played out some of the usual pole dance movements she also took it higher with some adept moves using only her thighs to climb higher up the pole.
Sugar Dish Fairy, played by our own Sugar Dish, Vanessa White, boss of the show, was a wild motion, frenzied in her moves, disciplined in her art. She dazzled with speed and accuracy and it was impossible to take one’s eyes off of her.
This year’s Slutcracker will likely sell out all shows. It always has in the past. This bawdy, ribald retelling of the traditional storyline allows White to find humor in exploring numerous sexual themes, fetishes, techniques. So, no matter what each audience member is into, there is something for each to enjoy. With numerous scantily clad performers glorifying the joys of human titillation, one might leave the show feeling frisky. So, be sure to bring a date.