Snow White is a dance-theater show, part of Company XIV’s Apple Trilogy. A baroque-infused mix of opera, dance, and theater, adults and children alike will be delighted with this interpretation of a classic fairytale. Director and choreographer Austin McCormack presents this stunning production, which showcases the talent of Company XIV’s repertory performers.
Reviewed by Nicole C. Lee
We often forget the dark nature of many classic fairytales. The Big Bad Wolf wants to eat Little Red Riding Hood, and is later hacked to death by a hunter. Hansel and Gretel encounter a witch who wants to eat them, and they escape by trapping her in her own oven. In Snow White’s case, her wicked stepmother finds new ways to try and kill her, so that she can be the fairest woman in the land. Company XIV’s production of Snow White is no different: creator, director, and choreographer Austin McCormack has turned from the darkness to the visually stunning, using a delightful collection of dance, opera, puppetry. and theater to do so. The show is guided by Nick Fesette, who doubles as the show’s narrator and huntsman. Influenced by McCormack’s baroque dance training, Snow White showcases both classic ballet and modern dance.
The eclectic mix of music becomes an important character, too. (Ella Fitzgerald, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Louis Armstrong, and Alexander Glazunov are just some of the artists and composers that inspire the dances.) For instance, Charites, a baroque opera trio, provides the voice—a mellifluous and penetrating three-part harmony—of the Queen’s magic mirror, a fantastic choice for a fantastical object. A remixed version of the “Immigrant Song” enhances the guise of the Queen as a Russian seamstress—one of several ruses she uses to kill Snow White. Fun and invigorating, this range of styles showcases the immense talent of Company XIV. At times, the music drowns out some lines, but it’s hard to criticize that: it’s such an essential part of the show.
303 Bond Street looks to have been a garage converted into a performance space, and yet Company XIV has made it into an intimate black box. A translucent curtain provides a cleverly designed set that illuminates the puppetry of the seven dwarves and dance movement.
It is easy to be swept away by the dances in Snow White. In one scene, Snow White is wandering in the forest, lost and subjected to heavy snowfall. What follows is an elaborate dance featuring Snow White and three performers dressed in white—personifying the snow—intermingling and pushing Snow White around. It would be enough of a compliment to say that Company XIV’s production feels like a Disney movie being played out on stage, but it’s worth going further with praise: McCormack’s Snow White is a vivid and unique interpretation of a classic fairy tale.
Snow White, part of The Apple Trilogy (60 minutes, no intermission)
303 Bond Street (between Sackett and Union Streets in Brooklyn, NY)
Tickets: $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors (www.smarttix.com)
Performances: December 19, 20, 27 and January 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 @ 3PM
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.