Odyssey Dance Theatre’s ReduxNut-Cracker opened last Wednesday night. A contemporary version of the original Nutcracker Ballet, the performance incorporated a variety of modern characteristics and themes, showing up throughout the show.
The main character, Clara, represents your typical 21st-century teenager with a bit of an attitude, dressed in gothy garb with a surprising likability due to her well-played comedy. At her parent’s Christmas party, she can not be bothered to mingle, instead sulking and pouting while her brother, Fritz, teases her relentlessly. It’s during this scene that the children from the party break out into an impressive hip hop choreography, allowing the audience a short performance from two toy characters, one a Barbie doll and the other a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Instead of a nutcracker, Clara receives an iPhone as a Christmas present. She is quickly immersed in all its apps, rapidly zoning out from the events around her. Suddenly, large “gangsta” mice start dancing around her.
A steampunk-looking character seemingly represents the influence and power the cellphone has over Clara. He guides her throughout the dream and shows her how to control her own army of glowing robots using her smartphone, which appear to help her defeat the mice.
The rest of this section of the performance is like the original in that Clara is taken on a tour of different styles of world dance, each with its own amusing twist. Unique to the modern version are kids dressed up as Mario and Luigi, who enter the stage by rolling out of a giant Lakitu character — which, for those of you unfamiliar with the Mario Bros. games, is a bespectacled, cloud-bound turtle character that appears in their adventures. Additionally, there was also a funny scene titled “Angry Birds Waltz” in which dancing ballerinas get fed up with high pitched bird chirps.
The show culminates with all the characters dancing on stage — and Clara wanting out. She has finally had enough of it all, instead choosing to be with her family, and she is quickly reunited with them.
This fun backstory involving Clara made the ReduxNut-Cracker’s newer elements entertaining rather than random; and the dancing was spot on.
“ReduxNut-Cracker” is showing at Kingsbury Hall now through Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets start at $20 per person, and students can buy two tickets for the price of one the day of any performance. They can be purchased over the phone or at the Kingsbury box office. Additional ticket information is available here.