Company XIV's adults-only version of Cinderella, directed and choreographed by Austin McCormick, runs at Theatre XIV.Company XI
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A CurtainUp Review
What to expect in this extravaganza? Well, a lot of surprises--and surely some gasp-worthy displays.
When you walk into the Company XIV's lobby from Troutman Street, you'll be greeted graciously at the door by a hostess who will pluck your ticket off one of the elegant candlestick holders on a nearby tray. Then she will direct you toward the bar, where a cadre of female bartenders are ready to mix you a cocktail. On offer are a glass of champagne brut or a "scarlet harlot" (a blend of cranberry liqueur and brandy). Whether you choose to imbibe or decline the concoctions, no worries. The show is intoxicating enough on its own.
Go early (theatergoers are welcome one hour before curtain-time)—and you will have an opportunity to enjoy the cabaret atmosphere that is part and parcel of the show. Inside the theater you will see a huge hazy-lit room that has a stage that looks like it could easily accommodate the Rockettes executing one of their kicklines. Antique-style velvet chairs and loveseats are arranged in rows around the stage, each abutted by a small table to hold a bottle of champagne or whatnot. After settling in, you will be approached by a performer, doubling as a waiter, to take your order from the bar or kitchen. (Those who arrive too late to order pre-show refreshments will have their chance to order food and drink later during the two leisurely intermissions in this 2-hour plus production.)
The show starts with a literal retelling of the Cinderella story. Then an array of flamboyantly-dressed performers emerge from the wings, one by one. They hold placards overhead that chronicle the myth in bite-size pieces. As retold here, in a club atmosphere, you get to refresh your memory of the tale and glimpse the characters sans sentimentality.
As conceived, directed and choreographed by Company XIV's artistic director Austin McCormick, the production is in keeping with the company's signature style of parodying classics with historical overtones. Indeed, they have gained a formidable reputation over the years for taking warhorses like Nutcracker Rouge and the Brother Grimm's Snow Whiteand reinventing them on their own bawdy terms. since their founding in 2006.
This Cinderella truly follows in their uninhibited footsteps. Highlights that blaze across—and over-the boards here: a female performer who finesses an acrobatic number on an elongated band suspended from the flies, all the while puffing on a cigarette held between her toes; a nonconventional Fairy Godmother (Storm Marrero) who proudly shows off her plus-sized physique; a Cinderella (Allison Ullrich) who literally leaps off the stage with balletic grace; the two step-sisters (Nicholas Katen and Ross Katen) who are in drag and possess Type A personalities; and the rakishly handsome Prince (Nolan McKew) who resolves to find the beautiful guest who lost her slipper at his Grand Ball.
Before the spectacle runs its course, you will see gravity-defying maneuvers in a large hoop overhead, pole dancing with magical twists, cartwheels at center stage — all done by performers wearing little more than sparkly codpieces, glittery underthings, and baroque apparatuses attached to their waists. Critics have described former award-winning shows as "eye-popping," "decadent," or an "adults-only Cirque du Soleil extravaganza." No question that this piece is cut from the same campy cloth.
The show's soundtrack is studded with operatic, concert, and pop music melodies. You can catch a gorgeous swath of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" midway through the piece that slowly fades out, allowing a contemporary pop song to edge in and raucously change the rhythm and tempo on stage.
The old canard that "Cinderella" is a fairytale for youngsters will be put to rest here. Company XIV's revamping of the old classic definitely warrants an adults only ranking. For sure, it's the steamiest show in town.
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Cinderella, based on Charles Perrault's classic story. Adapted, directed, and choreographed by Austin McCormick
Cast: Lilin Robinson (Stepmother/ensemble), Nolan McKew (Prince), Storm Marrero (Fairy Godmother),Nicholas Katen (Sister), Ross Katen (Sister), Alllison UIllrich (Cinderella), Jacoby Pruitt (ensemble), Ryan Redmond (ensemble), Cara Seymour (ensemble), Michele Lee (ensemble), Nate Hunt (ensemble), Lexxe (ensemble), Christine Flores (ensemble), Marcy Richardson (ensemble), Nicole Von Arx (ensemble), Mark Osmundsen (ensemble)
Costumes and set: Zane Philstrom
Lighting: Jeanette Oi-Suk
Company XIV at 383 Troutman Street, Brooklyn. 866-811-4111
From 3/8/18; opening 3/12/18; closing 6/03/18
Running time: 2 hours, 15 minutes, with two intermissions
Reviewed by Deirdre Donovan based on press performance of 3/12/18
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