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A CurtainUp Review
Snow White

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?
Snow White
L-R: Hilly Bodin and Courtney Giannone (Photo: Mark Shelby Perry)
The world premiere of Snow White is the third and final production presented this season by XIV and AMDM. This collaboration enjoyed extended runs at the Minetta Lane Theater of their saucy versions of Cinderella and Nutcracker Rouge . In keeping with their mission "to find and open a venue in New York City that can become a home to our unique brand of immersive entertainment" and, from what I surmise, to eroticize classical texts for adult consumption, they have re-imagined another fairy tale.

Snow White, once again the work of conceiver/choreographer/director Austin McCormick, is a mixed bag of rewards and regrets. It starts out promisingly against the formidable backdrop of a Berlin-styled cabaret presumably meant to evoke the notoriously raunchy anything goes era of the Weimar Republic.

It helps if you sprechen deutsch as does the show's narrator. But don't worry as there's a little English thrown in to keep you abreast (no pun intended) of the story and its decadent setting.

In any event, there are plenty of taunting tits and tremulous asses on display that don't require translation. These ogle-worthy attributes are purposely seen in direct competition with designer Zane Pihistrom's sumptuously designed costumes of all eras, beginning with King Louis XIV's reign and soaring into to the outer limits of haute couture. They regrettably do not serve as distractions enough to the writhing, undulating, groveling and grinding that the choreographer has imposed on the cast.

This primarily danced drama tells the story of the wicked Die Konigin (Laura Careless) who spends way much of her time looking into her magic mirror asking "Who is the fairest of them all?" As you may remember, it's Schneewittchen (Hilly Bodin) who is the fairest and is saved from death by one the Queen's men and left to wiggle and wend her way through the forest among a lot of exotic, sex-intoxicated fauna — many of whom have presumably taken some ballet as well as tumbling and/or classes in gymnastics. Before she is rescued by the Prince (Courtney Giannone) we are subjected to some rather dippy and/or drowsily performed divertissements.

The most interesting aspect of the production is the nightmarish backstage setting that is transformed to various locales, mainly by the atmospheric lighting and projection design of Jeanette Oi-Suk Yewes. The Minetta Lane is not set up as a cabaret (it would have helped) but audiences are encouraged to attend the bar in the lobby.

Watching a corps of lithe and toned bodies in motion, either contorting or consorting has its place, but also its limits. Just when you think you've had more than enough, along comes a little diversion with puppets; then the strains of an operatic aria, the resurrection of Minski's lost art, the sudden appearance of a Mariachi and even the fleeting temptations of a flamenco dancer, or is that just another flammchen in distress?

Your own taste for titillation will help determine whether you find this kind of entertainment seductive or stultifying. But whether you go for the bare or the Baroque it's probably still best if enjoyed along with a stiff drink.

Snow White
Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Austin McCormick

Cast of Principals: Laura Careless (Die Konigin), Hilly Bodin (Schneewittchen), Show Girls (Marcy Richardson, Lea Helle and Marisol Cabrera), The Queen's Men (Davon Rainey, Malik Shabazz Kitchen, Mark Osmundsen and Nicholas Katen), Courtney Giannone (Der Prinz)
Set andCostume Design: Zane Pihistrom
Technical Director: John Starmer
Lighting and Projection Design: Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Makeup Design: Sarah Cimino
Sound Engineer: Harrison Adams
Graphic Design: Kyle Ballentine
Production Stage Manager: Nataliya Vasilyeva
Puppet Desgin: Zane Pihistrom, Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Video Footage: Corey Tatarczuk
Running Time: 2 hours including intermission
Minetta Lane Theatre 18 Minetta Lane
Tickets: $40 to $65
Performances are Tuesdays - Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 5pm.
From 01/26/16 Opened 03/03/16 Ends 03/12/16
Review by Simon Saltzman based on performance 01/30/16
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