Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most Burlesque of Them All?

Company+XIV+is+back+again%2C+this+time%2C+exoticizing+the+classic+fairytale+of+Snow+White+and+the+Seven+Dwarves.

Courtesy of Mark Shelby Perry

Company XIV is back again, this time, exoticizing the classic fairytale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

By Laura Casado, Staff Writer

Company XIV’s sultry twist on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” tells the story of a naked Snow White through both Baroque and contemporary burlesque tropes.

The Company, founded in 2006 by Austin McCormick, has performed a slew of exotic productions, many inspired by traditional fairy tales. Following their recent production of “Nutcracker Rouge,” McCormick coupled his artistic vision with the traditional Brothers’ Grimm tale “Schneewittchen” to create “Snow White.” His production is unparalleled in its theatrical concepts and performed to perfection. From baroque musical interludes and aerial lyricists to pop-turned-opera songs and bedazzled thongs, Company XIV incorporates something for everybody and is guaranteed to dazzle and awe.

The set, designed by Zane Pihlstrom, was reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge burlesque club. It is furnished with chandeliers that dot the ceiling above a heavy fringe curtain, illuminated by light bulbs that outline the back and side walls.

During the show, the actors prepped at vanity tables and stretched on stage, strutting in silk robes that intentionally revealed glittering thongs and fishnet tights. Their pre-show presence and interactions with the audience created an air of excitement throughout the house. A carousel was used for the carnival scene, and during scene transitions, a miniature stage, manned by marionettes, narrated and progressed the story.

The score was a major highlight of Company XIV’s production. While the show was primarily dancing with intervals of German narration to clarify the plot, its music was both creatively and exquisitely planned. Baroque piano pieces covered scene changes and castanets accompanied traditional Spanish music. The Dixie Cups’ “Going to the Chapel of Love” played during Snow White’s marriage to her prince. Pop songs, including “Talking Body” by Tove Lo and “Toxic” by Britney Spears, became operatic arias sung beautifully by Marcy Richardson.

Snow White incorporated distinct dance styles, such as French country dancing, ballet and contemporary. The acrobatic numbers featuring double trapeze, aerial hoops and Courtney Giannone on Cyr wheel were breathtaking. The inclusion of video recorders, which were hand-held by the actors on stage and projected continuously onto the white fringe curtain created a truly immersive experience for the audience. It was like simultaneously watching live theater and a movie, perfectly in sync. Towards the end of the show, the Magic Mirror’s face was projected a final time onto the Wicked Queen’s naked back, creating a beautiful image for the audience.

Snow White herself was played by Hilly Bodin, who is in her first season with Company XIV. Bodin skillfully captured the innocence and depth of Snow White as she undergoes persecution by the Wicked Queen, played by Laura Careless, who also invested much passion into her role. The Queen’s Men and Showgirls formed a strong ensemble, whether dancing with headless mannequins or ball mouth gags.

The production team’s erotic creativity and the performers’ exceptional talent have created a show definitely worth seeing.

Company XIV’s “Snow White” is playing until March 12 at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Ln.

 

Email Laura Casado at [email protected]