Dec. 4-6 at Irving Theatre. NoExit Performance’s Nutcracker is director/choreographer Georgeanna Wade’s continually evolving expression of her long and complex relationship to the iconic holiday ballet. I've only seen two of the four (so far) annual iterations, but this year’s was much more focused, with a better mix of dancing and dialogue than the 2013 edition (which was heavy on talk).
The overall story arc this year was one of a nightmarish beauty/scholarship pageant. Each contestant had her own dance and/or story. I recognized some dances from last year — the Gypsy’s, the can-can, and the final marionette dance — but others seemed new. I laughed out loud at what seemed to be a spoof of that '80s aerobics championship video that makes the rounds of social media from time to time.
Within the new frame story, we find sexy control freak Herr Wolfgang Drosselmeyer (aka the emcee, played by Ryan Mullins) still scolding the toddler-esque Sparkle (Georgeanna Wade) for wanting to dance instead of stage manage — which once again prompts the audience to sympathetically “aww.” And Drosselmeyer is still brow-beating us into learning the proper way to bow when the wooden Nutcracker is brought in and placed on his throne. Drosselmeyer dazzled us with his costume changes as usual but alarmed us by tossing chandeliers.